In strong comments about the Supreme Court and the Election Commission, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has raised questions about some of their decisions on elections describing them as “convoluted” and intruding into parliament or government’s domain.
He called the apex court judgement disqualifying convicted lawmakers as not law but “a judge-made law” and mocked at the Election Commission’s guidelines by saying that “you should do or say nothing that wins you an election. You should try your best to lose elections.”
Addressing the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) on the ‘Challenges of Democracy in India’ here Wednesday night, Khurshid said the Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct made it difficult for parties to win elections.
“The recent instructions that we received from them (EC) interestingly are that our manifesto must be certain that it does not offer the building of roads, because promise of building roads distorts democratic decision-making. “You should also not offer drinking water because that distorts decision-making,” the senior Congress leader said.
Khurshid said the broad philosophical approach, as he understood was that “you should do or say nothing that wins you an election. You should try your best to lose elections. I cheekily said to them we try to lose our elections for five years; give us 15 days in which we can try and win them please”.
He described the Commission as “very vigorous and highly respected”, which has “cleaned up a lot of the ugly warts of our election process”.
“But they are only three of them, with no appeal against them. And three of them can decide what word you can use in an election campaign. That is an interesting area of study on how much Election Commissions can interfere in public discourse,” Khurshid said.