Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that any staggering of the poll dates for the two seats would be unconstitutional.
Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — Apprehending that the ruling BJP might play a trick for retaining the two Rajya Sabha seats vacated by Amit Shah and Smriti Irani who got elected to Lok Sabha, the principal opposition party Congress on Thursday warned the Election Commission to issue a statement immediately that it has no intention of conducting separate elections for two obviously joint seats. It said any staggering of the poll dates for the two seats would be “unconstitutional and illegal” as Congress can snatch one seat on the basis of the first preferential vote.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the reporters at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi that there is an apprehension that the election to the two seats of the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat could be held on different dates. He said it is a well-established convention whenever there are two seats of a state going vacant, the elections are held together.
Shah and Irani, upon winning the Lok Sabha elections, have resigned from the Rajya Sabha on different dates. Shah’s seat in the Upper House was declared vacant on May 28 and that of Irani was declared vacant on May 29. Also, while Shah was declared a winner in the Lok Sabha polls from Gandhinagar on May 23, Irani was declared a winner from Amethi, where she defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi, a day later.
Congress leader maintained that by using the technicality that some figures were known on May 23 and some were known on 24th of May, therefore, elections cannot be held separately and it would be unconstitutional and illegal and playing with the MLAs’ mandate.
“This would be a mockery of our constitutional ethos. It would be completely contrary to conventions because this has happened earlier in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and other States. Whenever there are two seats of that state going vacant, you have the elections together.”
“If you have one election today and one after ‘x’ number of weeks, you will enable the ruling party MLAs to simply cross 51 per cent in the Assembly of Gujarat and elect him in the first round and him again in the second round which is held after weeks,” he added.
He said that any staggering of the poll dates for the two seats would be unconstitutional.
Singhvi said in today’s troubled times, with such a huge trust deficit, the Election Commission should not allow such a game to be played by anyone. He also urged the EC to issue a clarification in this regard.
“My apprehension can be proved unfounded by a two-line statement, immediately today or tomorrow by the EC that there are no intentions of having separate elections for two joined seats,” he further said.
In the Gujarat legislative assembly, the BJP has 99 members and opposition Congress 77 members. If elections to the two RS seats are held together, the Congress stands a chance of winning one of them while in staggered election dates, BJP can take advantage of the ‘first-past-the-post’ system and win on both the occasions.
The Congress spokesman also criticised former ISRO Chief that he has no business to criticize the government. He said this in response to question that former ISRO Chief has reportedly criticised the former UPA government.
“You have no business to criticize the Government. You are a Scientist; you are supposed to be the pride of place in our constitution. Just because you find that a particular political party is out of power or in power, tomorrow will some other Scientist start singing the tune of the Congress when we come back to power that all things were delayed by BJP.”
This is not the work either of RBI or of ISRO or of, for that matter, CBI. Unfortunately, this is the growing culture of this country and it must be condemned by me and BJP also because democracy of India kind cannot flourish if institutions start thinking inside, Singhvi said.
Did ISRO criticise any government for the last so many years? Chandrayaan-1 was sent long ago, he asked.