Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has opposed the Election Commission's practice of deploying central forces without the consent of the State governments and proposed the need for introducing a code of conduct for election observers.
Delivering the presidential address at a national seminar on electoral reforms held under the joint aegis of the C. Achutha Menon Study Centre and Library and the Indira Gandhi National Open University here on Thursday, the Chief Minister said such actions amounted to challenging the principles of federalism. Law and order being a State subject, the Army or forces from other States should not be deployed without the consent of the State government concerned.
He said that though the commission claimed to conduct the elections in a free and fair manner, there were complaints that it was yielding to the interests of the Union government. The threatening note of the commission in deploying Central forces and the attempt to raise it as a campaign issue against the parties governing the States often led to the allegation that there was an indirect link between the Centre and the commission. Kerala and West Bengal had such experiences too. He said the Army was deployed in Kannur during the previous Lok Sabha elections and this was a demand of the UDF.