Saturday, April 2, 2016

LokSatta Supports Simultaneous Polls - Constructive no-confidence and direct election of CM are keys

LokSatta founder Dr Jayaprakash Narayan welcomed the proposal for conduct of simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and State Assemblies. Referring to the news reports of Prime Minister’s support for simultaneous polls, Dr JP stated that repeated election cycles are disrupting administration, delaying vital decisions in national interest, and undermining governance. Dr JP recalled Lok Satta team’s evidence before the Parliamentary Committee on the subject.

Dr Jayaprakash Narayan pointed out that in our Westminster model of government, even if simultaneous elections are somehow held in 2019 by amending the constitution suitably, there is no guarantee that State Assemblies will not be dissolved or midterm polls will not be conducted. Therefore a series of steps should be taken to achieve the objective and improve governance.

Dr Jayaprakash Narayan proposed that first at national level we should incorporate a provision in the constitution for ‘constructive no – confidence’. Germany has a similar provision. Under constructive no – confidence, a government can be unseated in Lok Sabha only if an alternative government with majority support is feasible. This will guarantee stability and ensure that the Lok Sabha will run its full term. There will be no occasion for midterm polls.

Westminster model is suitable at the national level given our diversity, vastness, and complexity. However in states, dependence of chief ministers on support of MLAs for survival and the enormous illegitimate expenditure for vote buying are undermining governance. In general, from Panchayat to Parliament the people are voting for or against the state government. Voters see state as the true political unit. Given that, if the head of government in states is elected directly by the people for a fixed term of five years and he (she) has the choice of cabinet, and government’s survival does not depend on MLAs, we can ensure stability, good governance and effective delivery in states.

Dr Jayaprakash Narayan appealed to all political parties to set aside their differences and come together on these critical proposals of constructive no – confidence at national level, and direct election of chief ministers in states for a fixed term. These vital reforms will ensure simultaneous elections and improve our governance and economic growth vastly.

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