Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah said on Tuesday that the 2019 General Elections will not be advanced, The Indian Express reported. He also said that simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies can be held only after there was a consensus on the matter.

“Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] has put forth the idea of simultaneous elections before the country,” Shah told the daily. “He has welcomed a public debate on this. This issue will progress further only after a law is enacted and all parties extend support. The Election Commission will also have to hear it.”

“If all political parties unite tomorrow, it can be done tomorrow,” Shah added. “It requires an amendment to The Representation of the People Act, and it can happen only in Parliament. It cannot be done secretively.”

The BJP chief also claimed that the saffron party would win a clear mandate in the Karnataka Assembly elections scheduled for May 12, dismissing speculations of a hung Assembly. He also played down the challenge posed by the alliance between the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh, and said the BJP was aiming for a 50% vote share in the state in the 2019 elections.

Shah dismissed fears that Supreme Court judge Ranjan Gogoi, who is next in line to become the chief justice, would be superseded after Chief Justice Dipak Misra retires. Gogoi was one of the four senior judges who had addressed a press conference in January about a crisis in the “administration of the Supreme Court”. He said Supreme Court judge Jasti Chelameswar’s apprehensions about this happening were his personal view, not shared by the Centre.

But the BJP president also defended the Narendra Modi-led government’s decision to return the recommendation of the Supreme Court Collegium to elevate Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph to the top court. He said many governments had done it in the past, and it was the Constitutional right of the Centre to return recommendations.

“We have only returned a name. During the time of Indira Gandhi’s government, three Supreme Court judges had resigned,” Shah said.