Larger parleys must on postal votes: CPI(M)

Sitaram Yechury. File photo: Nagara Gopal

Sitaram Yechury. File photo: Nagara Gopal   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

It says consultations could have been held at national level on extending postal ballot for more categories

Countering the Election Commission’s claim that political parties were consulted on extending postal ballot for more categories, the CPI(M), in another missive to the commission, said that for a procedure applicable to the entire country, consultations with State-level parties did not suffice.

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had written to the EC on Tuesday objecting to the panel’s latest move to extend the postal ballot facility to those above 65 years. This, he said, would put a sizeable section of voters outside the physical verifiability matrix, raising questions over the entire process.

Along with its response, the EC sent Mr. Yechury the minutes of a meeting convened by the Bihar Chief Electoral Officer on June 26 that was attended by the recognised parties, including the CPI(M).

Countering this, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Nilotpal Basu has shot off another letter to the EC. In his letter, Mr. Basu said the CPI(M) was aware of a meeting called by the Chief Electoral Officer of Bihar where this was one among the many issues that was raised. And the subject of extending the use of postal ballot was not raised to elicit the opinion of the representatives of the political parties but just to inform them, the party said. “In any case, a meeting of the Chief Electoral Officer of a State with State-level political parties is no substitute for dispensing with national-level consultations on a procedure applicable to the entire country,” Mr. Basu wrote.

He said consultations could have been easily held at the national level using digital technology. And this should have been done before taking a key decision.

“The CPI(M) only urges the commission to adhere to its own enlightened practice that it had evolved over the seven decades of independent India and uphold the healthy precedent of forging consensus among political parties before ushering in any change in the procedures for the conduct of elections,” Mr Basu said.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2020 11:01:02 AM |

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