The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday opposed the Centre's 'One Nation, One Election' proposal, alleging that it is a ploy of the ruling BJP to "legalise sale and purchase" of elected representatives under its "Operation Lotus".
The party also claimed that this system of elections was being proposed by the Narendra Modi dispensation to replace the parliamentary form of government with a presidential system.
The resource-and-cash-rich parties will suppress the issues of the states with the help of money and muscle power, and also the decision of voters will be affected if simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the assemblies are held, AAP spokesperson Atishi claimed at a press conference.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led party’s response came over a month after the Law Commission issued a public notice seeking comments of stakeholders, including political parties and the Election Commission, on the proposal to hold simultaneous elections in the country.
"The AAP vehemently opposes the proposal of 'One Nation, One Election', it is unconstitutional and against the basic principles of democracy. 'One Nation, One Election' proposal is a front to legitimise 'Operation Lotus' and legalise sale and purchase of MLAs," Atishi said.
The AAP has submitted its response to the Law Commission on the issue, hoping that it will peruse the party’s views “in an unbiased and non-partisan manner”, she said.
The Law Commission has sought the views of the various stakeholders on simultaneous elections with six questions flagged by the previous panel in its draft report on the politically sensitive subject.
"Will holding simultaneous elections, by any means tinker with the democracy, basic structure of the Constitution or the federal polity of the country," it has asked.
The suggestions given by various committees and commissions to deal with the situation of hung Parliament or assembly, where no political party has majority to form a government, propose that the prime minister or the chief minister may be appointed or selected in the same manner as a Speaker of the House or the assembly is elected.
"Will it be possible? If so, will it be in consonance and in conformity with the Tenth Schedule (disqualification) to the Constitution," the commission has asked.
It has also sought to know if such an appointment or selection of the prime minister or the chief minister by consensus amongst the political parties or their elected members would require an amendment to the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution.
"If so, to what extent," the Law Commission asked.
Atishi said it will fulfil the BJP's "dreams" of running its "Operation Lotus" in a legitimised way throughout the country if a chief minister and the prime minister are elected in such a manner.
The MLAs and MPs will then be able to elect chief ministers and the prime minister "through a direct presidential style voting" and since the anti-defection law will not be applicable in such kind of election, the BJP, which is the richest party today, will have a free run to bring MLAs and MPs of other party's in its support under "Operation Lotus", she charged.
"The proposed mechanism for selection of the prime minister and chief minister in case of hung Parliament/assembly is impractical, dangerous and will lead to institutionalised defection of legislators," Atishi said.
In a 12-page response to the Law Commission on the issue, the AAP noted that the proposals made in the draft report are "highly disconcerting" for they not only alter the basic structure of the Constitution while tinkering with the ideals of democracy and federalism, but also suffer from "legal infirmities, logical fallacies, and evidentiary deficit".
In the present system of elections, the party underlined, democratic power, wielded by the citizens, has "a recurring boundary", either upon completion of tenure of the legislature or its dissolution.
At a structural level, a forced simultaneity of elections would radically change the nature of power vested in the elected representatives "by ensuring that the legislature necessarily remains in office for five years even if the government loses the confidence of the people", it said.
"This imposes a restriction on the conduct of elections for five years, silencing the citizen's democratic power within the five-year period," the party said.
"It is also surprising that at a time when the right to recall representatives has started gaining traction, the Commission has chosen to opt for a regressive system where if an alternative government with majority support cannot be culled out of the legislature, then the government which has lost the support of the legislature continues to stay in power," the party added.
"In conclusion, we once again appeal to the Law Commission to peruse all the suggestions made in this submission in an unbiased and non-partisan manner, and privilege the safeguarding of the constitutional principles as envisioned by our founding fathers over narrow arguments of administrative efficiency," the AAP added.