Simultaneous polls against federal structure: TDP
New Delhi : The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on Sunday opposed the idea of simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies, saying the proposal was "impracticable" and "against the spirit of the Constitution and federal structure".
"As per the Constitution, it is not possible and is impracticable. For simultaneous polls, either you have to extend or reduce the tenures of some state governments, which is against the spirit of the Constitution and federal structure," party MP K. Ravindra Kumar said.
Changing the tenure of a government is not permissible under the Constitution and the provisions of Representation of the People Act, Ravindra Kumar told reporters after attending a meeting convened by the Law Commission over its proposal of simultaneous polls.
"We submitted a representation to the Law Commission stating that under the guise of simultaneous elections, the Central government is making hectic efforts to curtail the liberty of regional parties and to curtail the powers of the governments where regional parties are ruling," he said.
Ravindra Kumar, who accompanied TDP Parliamentary Party leader and Kakinada MP Thota Narasimham at the meeting, also said as the proposal was not permissible under the Constitution, any attempt to amend the Constitution would directly affect the federal nature of the Union.
He noted that the country, as per Article 1 of the Constitution of India, is a union of states and the Central government is not supposed to curtail the rights of the states under the guise of simultaneous elections.
Many regional parties are apprehensive that the Central government may use Constitutional and statutory bodies under its control against the governments and political leaders who are opposing the NDA government, which is not permissible under democracy, he said.
On the issue of electronic voting machines (EVMs), the TDP leader said: "EVM machines can be used subject to provision of a printout saying who the voter voted to. If voters' slip is not possible by the Election Commission, go back to the ballot paper to conduct elections in tradional way."
The Law Commission has invited all the national and recognised state political parties to hold consultations on Saturday and Sunday on the practicality of conducting simultaneous polls.
The Commission has prepared a draft paper on "Simultaneous Elections - Constitutional and Legal Perspectives" and has sought opinions of "all stakeholders" including political parties, constitutional experts, bureaucrats, academia and others on the paper before finalising its report and sending it to the government.