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Holding simultaneous polls anti-federal, anti-democratic: CPI(M)

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: June 19, 2019  | 20:32 IST

New Delhi, Jun 19 (PTI) The "one nation, one election" proposal is fundamentally anti-federal and a "backdoor way of replacing our parliamentary democracy", CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said on Wednesday after a meeting of political party chiefs called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here. Modi had invited the heads of all political parties which have at least one member either in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha for the meeting to discuss several issues, including the "one nation, one election" idea, celebration of 75 years of Independence in 2022 and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year. Speaking on the programme and commitments to celebrate Gandhi's birth anniversary, Yechury said action must be taken against those who are glorifying the assassins of the Father of the nation. He also demanded for a law against mob lynching. "The 'One Nation, One poll' proposal is fundamentally anti-federal and anti democratic and thus, against the Constitution. It is a backdoor way of replacing our parliamentary democracy," Yechury said after the meeting. Earlier, in a note circulated among the representatives of the political parties in attendance, he listed out the reasons for the CPI(M)'s opposition to the "artificial attempt" by the government to introduce simultaneous polls. Yechury said holding simultaneous polls would "tamper" with the constitutional scheme of accountability of the government to the legislature. "Apart from the technical issues involved in holding simultaneous elections to Parliament and state Assemblies, our opposition to this is based on the fact that it is fundamentally anti-federal, anti-democratic and strikes at the roots of the parliamentary democratic system, as ordained in the Constitution. "Article 75(3) states that the collective responsibility of the Council of Ministers is to the House of the People. Similarly, Article 164(1) concerning the Council of Ministers states that it is collectively responsible to the legislative Assembly of a state," he added. Yechury said under the Constitution, if a government loses the confidence of the legislature either by being voted out on a no-confidence motion or by losing a vote on a Money Bill, it is bound to resign and if no alternative government can be formed, the House is dissolved and a mid-term election held. There is no fixity of tenure enshrined in the Constitution either for the Lok Sabha or the state legislatures, the Left leader said, adding that both Article 83(2) and Article 172(1) specify that the term of the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assembly will be for five years, "unless sooner dissolved". "Any attempt to prolong the life of the Lok Sabha or legislature will not only be unconstitutional, but also, anti-democratic. It is the will of the people through their elected representatives that must prevail," he said. Yechury further pointed out that in order to pave the way for simultaneous elections, various suggestions were made by the NITI Aayog to amend the Constitution. "Various proposals are put forth to circumvent the accountability of the legislature and to ensure fixity of tenure of the House...In the name of ensuring simultaneity of elections, all these proposals would enhance the role of the governor and central intervention... "We are, therefore, totally opposed to any artificial attempt to bring about simultaneous elections, which can only be done by trampling upon the existing constitutional scheme of parliamentary democracy," he said. The CPI(M) general secretary said bringing the proposal was a "mere slogan" and that the government had no idea how to implement it. In his note, Yechury also flagged the issues of unemployment, data credibility, declining economy, labour laws, privatisation and the alarming drought situation, which he said need to be urgently resolved. PTI ASG JTR IJT

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