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Left calls EC move to regulate poll promises ‘unwarranted’

The CPM pointed out that the Election Commission had in an affidavit to the Supreme Court in April stated that the Commission cannot regulate policy decisions of political parties and that it would be an overreach of powers.

CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat addresses protest rally against rising inflation, unemployment, privatization and communalism, in New Delhi, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (PTI Photo/FILE)

The Left parties on Wednesday said the Election Commission’s proposal to amend the Model Code of Conduct to guide political parties to disclose how they plan to finance promises made in their election manifestos and how this would impact the financial situation of the state governments concerned or the Central government was a “totally unwarranted move”.

While the CPM said it was strongly opposed to any effort to circumscribe or regulate the right of political parties to address people’s concerns and offer policy measures to ameliorate their problem, the CPI said the EC has no authority to take steps to regulate the policies of the political parties.

“The Constitution mandates the Election Commission to conduct free and fair elections. It is not the job of the Election Commission to regulate the policy pronouncements and welfare measures that political parties promise to the people. This is an area which is solely the prerogative of political parties in a democracy,” the CPM said in a statement.

Pointing out that the Election Commission had, in an affidavit to the Supreme Court in April, stated that the Commission cannot regulate policy decisions of political parties and that it would be an overreach of powers, it said: “It is surprising that the Election Commission has now taken a contrary stand” and asked “is this due to pressure being exercised by the executive?”

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Arguing that the Modi government is “showering freebies on corporates by writing off loans, selling national assets, and tax concessions”, CPI general secretary D Raja said “Directive Principles of our Constitution are in the nature of promises made to people. Will ECI question them or ask Dr Ambedkar to explain finances?”

“The Election Commission is in fact mandated by the Constitution of India to hold free-and-fair election. It has no authority to take steps to regulate the policies of the political parties. Hence, such moves are violation of the mandate, disrespecting the Constitution and curbing the statutory rights of political parties,” the CPI leader said.

First published on: 05-10-2022 at 09:10:49 pm
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