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Election Commission Of India Should Make Pre Poll Alliance Among Political Parties Binding – OpEd

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The recent episode in Maharashtra in India where two political parties formed a pre poll alliance and contested the recent assembly election and won with comfortable majority together and then decided to part company after the election has caused deep distress amongst people who place faith in the concept of electoral democracy. The greater tragedy is that one of the alliance parties came into an understanding with the parties against whom it contested and the parties which fought against each other in the election formed the government.

Similar happening took place in Karnataka in India also sometime back.

People wonder as to whether such unseemly and unprincipled happenings have taken place due to the weakness in the electoral regulations or due to lack of scruples amongst political parties. It appears that both these reasons have contributed to this dismal scenario in Maharashtra and earlier in Karnataka.

In this scenario, people expect that the Election Commission of India which is a constitutional body vested with the responsibility and authority to conduct elections in free and fair manner and ensure that the verdict of the people would be adhered to, has a definite role to play.

It is surprising that the Election Commission has not so far expressed any opinion on this issue or disapproved the act of the political parties who form pre poll alliance and assuring electorates that they are partners with agreed principles and then break away after the elections with least regard and respect for basic principles of electoral democracy.

The Election Commission of India should immediately issue order that the pre poll alliance between political parties would be made binding between the parties atleast for period of one year after the election.

It has become a regular practice for political parties in India to form pre poll alliance between themselves and form a front to contest election and the elections are really becoming contest between one front of political parties and other front.

People exercise their franchise in favour of one front or the other, expectingt that the winning alliance partners in the front would form government. However, in practice, this is not happening. On many occasions, parties in one front join another front against whom it contested, immediately after the poll. This has made the election process a mockery and amount to insulting the verdict of the electorate.

Election Commission of India should take immediate action to make the pre poll alliance binding. Election Commission has the powers to do this on it’s own as it is a constitutional body.

Certainly, the people of India would applaud the Election Commission, as this move will serve the cause of healthy Indian democracy.

Some people seem to be of the view that they are not sure whether making pre poll alliance binding amongst political parties by the Election Commission requires statutory amendment or whether Election Commission can do on its own. Such people say that it may require statutory provision , as it affects the right of political parties.

However, opinion voiced by others is that Election Commission can act on its own. In support of this view, they have said that Mr. T. N. Seshan, former Chief Election Commissioner of India imposed several restrictions such as not permitting posters or use of loudspeakers beyond stipulated time for election campaign. This decision also affected the rights of political parties to campaign. The view was that since it was a decision by Election Commission that became popular amongst people, no political party was daring enough to protest.

Further, it was said that such decision of Election Commission to make pre election alliance binding may be challenged by some political parties or by so called activists in the court. In this case, Election Commission should argue it’s stand in the judiciary.

In recent times, it is seen that in making decisions by judiciary, it appears that the perspective of the people is duly considered. particularly when the law lacks clarity.

Let election commission act on it’s own and let it become a matter of public debate. This is long overdue. People’s support would make the implementation of the decision possible.

In recent time, there have been big and noisy campaign by Election Commission to ensure 100% voting by the people. However, people may ask as to what is the point in exercising their franchise., when the political parties conduct themselves in such obnoxious manner without any scruples.



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N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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