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CPI-M proposals for EC reform a charter for rigging: Jaitley

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Aug 31 (UNI) Taking a potshot at the CPI-M for its proposals for reforming the Election Commission, the BJP today said that barring two 'positive suggestions' the entire document was nothing but a 'charter for electoral rigging' and asked the Left party to force the government to come out with a legislation if it was serious about reforming the poll process.

Reacting to the CPI-M documents proposing reforms of the EC, BJP General Secretary and Spokesman Arun Jaitley said the Left party's views that the members of the EC should be non-partisan and their appointment should be made by a collegium of Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and Supreme Court Chief Justice or his nominee were the two things that were acceptable and they should not hold any political office after their E C's tenure.

He, however, said that the CPI-M had no moral right to speak on both the issues because the appointment of Mr Navin Chawla, a partisan person as the member of the E C was done with CPI-M's help.

The Congress, the leader of the UPA coalition, had appointed former CECs as Governors and brought former CEC M S Gill to Rajya Sabha.

They sought to bring former CEC T N Seshan to Lok Sabha by fielding him from Gujarat.

He said if the CPI-M is serious about its suggestions they should force the Government to come out with a legislation about these two.

If the Government is unwilling than they can bring it in the form of a Private Member's Bill and the NDA will support the Bill and allow the Left party to claim credit, he said pointing that NDA and the Left Parties together have the strength to pass such a Bill in the Lok Sabha.

He said E C was constituted under Article 324 of the Constitution and in cases where some provisions are not specified it would depend on the same Article as it was the reservoir of all residuary powers necessary for conduct of free and fair polls.

Mr Jaitley, a former Law Minister in the NDA regime, said the CPI-M had opposed deployment of Central or Para Military forces in preference over the state police for free and fair conduct of elections. They don't want this to happen, he said. The party document also showed that they wanted EC's subjugation by seeking a monitoring body to review the actions of EC whereas the Constitution was clear that any review could only be done by the High Courts and Supreme Court and not by Executive, Government or its nominee.

Monitoring by any other body would mean destruction and trampling of independence of the E C, he said. Code of Conduct of elections was not statutory anymore as it has the mandate of the Article 324.

On the CPI-M's opposition to regulation of publicity material to curb poll expenses, the BJP General Secretary said it was part of the EC's job to enforce law to regulate election expenses and nobody could find fault with that. One could also not find fault with the E C for honest preparation of electoral rolls.


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