The Congress has claimed that the Maharashtra Assembly may be dissolved on February 28 after the budget presentation, paving the way for simultaneous elections with the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
However, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis rejected the contention, reiterating his often repeated stance that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena coalition would complete its full tenure till October this year.
Addressing a party workers' rally as part of the ongoing pre-election campaign in Aurangabad on Thursday night, state Congress President Ashok Chavan said the state government was planning for simultaneous elections this time.
"The state Assembly would be dissolved immediately after the budget is tabled this month. Keeping this in view, all party activists across the state must get down to work immediately," Chavan said.
The week-long state budget session of the legislature will be held between February 25 and March 2.
Chavan added that "the Congress is fully geared" for the challenge of twin elections, a sentiment echoed even by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
NCP state spokesperson Nawab Malik said his party was "absolutely prepared" in the eventuality of simultaneous elections and expressed confidence that the ruling saffron combine would be vanquished in both the Lok Sabha and the Assembly polls.
Chavan also appealed to all the opposition parties, especially the Prakash Ambedkar-led Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, to refrain from doing anything that would split the opposition votes and give advantage to the ruling dispensation.
The debate over holding combined polls in the state has revived even though all the major political parties are yet to finalise their respective alliances with the elections looming large.
With a population of nearly 12 crore, Maharashtra has 48 Lok Sabha seats and 288 Assembly constituencies, the second highest in the country after Uttar Pradesh, making it an important state for all the political parties.