Aam Aadmi Party delegation met former President Ram Nath Kovind.
The Aam Aadmi Party delegation met former President Ram Nath Kovind regarding the Central Government's effort to hold simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies in the country. After this, Aam Aadmi Party's national secretary Pankaj Gupta and leader Jasmine Shah presented their stand and said that this weakens the accountability of voters. The principles of the Constitution and democracy cannot be sacrificed for narrow financial gain or administrative convenience. He also said that a vague proposal is being considered without any policy draft.
He said that AAP strongly opposes the idea of One Nation-One Election (ONOE). Because it is a threat to the democracy, basic constitution and federal structure of the country. AAP told the High Level Committee (HLC) constituted on ONOE on Thursday how this suggestion of simultaneous elections for the Lok Sabha and all state assemblies is a serious threat to the country's democracy, constitutional principles, free and fair elections.
Democratic accountability towards voters is weak
In fact, in this regard, a delegation of AAP National Secretary Pankaj Gupta and senior leader Jasmine Shah met the high level committee formed for One Nation-One Election under the chairmanship of former President of India Ramnath Kovind. Pankaj Gupta said that holding elections simultaneously across the country weakens democratic accountability to the voter and will encourage governments to act only once every five years before elections. He also said that the current form of elections does not create any hindrance in day-to-day governance.
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Number of phases of elections reduced
He also highlighted that the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) imposed before any election merely prevents announcement of any new schemes. Apart from this, the already running programs of the government continue uninterrupted. He further said that any difficulties faced by MCC can be addressed at the Election Commission level. This can also be achieved by clarifying the provisions of the MCC and reducing the number of phases of elections in the states.
Central and state government accountable
Pankaj Gupta stressed the fact that elections give people an opportunity to hold the Central and State governments accountable, ONOE will deprive citizens of this opportunity. Highlighting the financial aspect of ONOE, he said that in the present form the total expenditure on elections is very low, which is only 0.1 percent of the annual budget of the Central Government. Therefore, it is not right to sacrifice constitutional principles to reduce marginal expenditure through ONOE.
What in case of a hung assembly?
AAP leader Jasmine Shah told HLC that ONOE violates the parliamentary system, federal structure, democracy and free and fair elections. Drawing attention to the technical aspects of ONOE, he told HLC that no solution has been given in ONOE in case of a hung assembly after the elections or in case the government loses confidence.
Anti-defection law weakened
Senior AAP leader Jasmine Shah specifically pointed to two aspects. First, ONOE's proposed solution to hung assemblies would be to weaken anti-defection laws. Will encourage large-scale horse-trading and misuse of money and muscle power by the largest party. Second, even if a government loses the confidence of the assembly, it allows the government to function without having to prove its majority.
Furthermore, he cautioned the HLC that ONOE would put the state election agenda ahead of the national election agenda. He said that the principles of the Constitution and democracy cannot be sacrificed for some financial gain and administrative convenience.
Demand to organize consultation meeting
During this, the AAP delegation pointed out the flaw in the current consultation which is being done on a vague idea without any policy draft. He also requested the committee to hold another consultation meeting with a concrete draft plan for holding simultaneous elections in future, if the committee recommends it.
Your advice is important
Welcoming the delegation of AAP leaders, HLC Chairman and former President Ramnath Kovind noted that the Aam Aadmi Party is in power in two states and is an important stakeholder in the consultation process. The Committee patiently listened to your views and accepted your request that if the Committee recommends that there be another consultation with a concrete draft plan for simultaneous elections in the future, it would be considered.
Damage to the basic structure of the Constitution
Expressing its opinion on some serious issues regarding the constitutionality of ONOE, AAP has said that holding all the elections simultaneously across the country will harm the basic structure of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has also held that the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be weakened, whereas the idea and mechanism of ONOE fundamentally damages the basic structure of the Constitution.