President’s rule would have been right, says former Chief Election Commissioner

Hyderabad: Imposition of President’s Rule would have been the right thing to do in Karnataka, where Assembly elections threw up a hung verdict with no party getting absolute majority to form the government, former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) T. S. Krishnamurthy said.

“If the government cannot be formed because of the situation in Karnataka, then the right thing would have been is to impose President’s Rule,” Krishnamurthy, who headed the Election Commission from February 2004 to May 2005, said.

Noting that none of the three parties, BJP, Congress and JD(S), has secured the majority, Krishnamurthy opined that Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala should have imposed President’s Rule for three months and if no government is formed within this time-frame, then recommend dissolution of the House and conduct fresh elections. “I am not saying President’s Rule is the solution, but it could have avoided all this wastage of time, money, horse trading, bargaining for portfolios and things like that,” he said.

On the first-past-the-post election system, where a candidate winning the highest number of votes is declared the winner, Krishnamurthy said it should be done away with. “First-past-the-post system should go, that has resulted in very undesirable consequences. People with 20-25% votes they get elected. Otherwise there will be loyalty to particular sectional interest like caste, creed or language whatever,” he said.

“The best thing is to either introduce proportional system, where political parties get seats based on the percentage of votes they get, or insist on 33.33% vote to be polled by the winner in which case smaller sections will play a less role and there will be more loyalty towards the constituency,” the former CEC suggested.

If no candidate gets at least 33.33% votes, then there should be re-election in that Constituency, Krishnamurthy said. “In many countries, 50%-plus-one-vote is insisted upon for winning. As a first step, 33.33% (votes for winning)…may be for the next five to 10 years and thereafter make it 50% so that political parties will not represent sectional interest,” he added.

According to the former CEC, there should also be a separate law regulating the functioning of political parties. “And that law should also provide that once you are elected, you cannot be changing the party for the formation                       of the government”.

The former CEC also called for a separate election fund and said corporates and individuals contributing to this fund should get 100% tax exemption. “That money will be used for elections so that there is no nexus between corporates and political parties”, Krishnamurthy added.

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