Bye-elections – Hold only in case of Extreme Exigencies

G.S. Vijay Kumar By G.S. Vijay Kumar, 8th Jan 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
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Bye-elections cost several crores of money and should be held judiciously and selectively. Ideally, it should be held only in case of death of sitting candidates or some such extreme exigencies

Bye-elections – Hold only in case of Extreme Exigencies

Barely has the results of the Gujarat Assembly Election been declared, the state is faced with a fresh set of completely avoidable bye-elections. Two Congress MPs who won the assembly elections are likely to resign as state legislators in order to retain their place in the Lok Sabha in view of the criticality of the Congress Party’s numbers in Parliament. The Congress party had fielded three sitting MPs to contest the Assembly elections but only two of them were elected.

Now, the questions that are uppermost in people’s mind are; why did the congress party field sitting MPs to contest Assembly elections in the first place if they have to resign their seats later? Couldn’t the party and its managers think of this before nomination of such candidates? This would lead to an additional expenditure of several crores of rupees to the state government which could have been strictly avoided. Additionally and more importantly, this amounts to a fraud on the electorates who would have voted for a particular candidate in the elections held earlier. One fails to understand the logic of fielding candidates for contesting the election and then resign once the results are declared.

Bye-elections cost several crores of money and should be held judiciously and selectively. Ideally, it should be held only in case of death of sitting candidates or some such extreme exigencies.

Earlier in the year, the Congress party zeroed in on Mr. Vijay Bahuguna, son of the late Shri Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna the erstwhile Chief Minister of the undivided Uttar Pradesh, for the position of Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. Mr. Vijay Bahuguna was a member of parliament from Tehri Garhwal constituency of Uttarakhand and did not contest the assembly election held in February 2012. Similarly, Akhilesh Yadav, the then member of the Lok Sabha from Kannauj parliamentary constituency of Uttar Pradesh, also did not contest the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections but the Samajwadi party chose to elect him as the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh after the party was elected to power in the state.

As per the provisions of our Constitution, a Chief Minister should be a member of the state legislature, either the assembly or the council, and in case he is not a member of the state legislature, then he/ she must become a member of either house of the legislature within six months from the date of assuming office.

It is true that the constitution provides for such practices. We have had any number of such cases in the past across all states and this continues to be practiced even to this day. The Election Commission should put an end to this practice and by-elections should be held only in cases of death of sitting members or any such extreme exigencies. As a practice, all ministers should be chosen only if they are legislators of either house or members of parliament in the case of centre.

Each by-election costs crores of money and therefore a conscious attempt should be made by all concerned to avoid such wasteful expenditure. Although there are limits on poll expenses for Parliamentary as well as Assembly elections, it is a well known fact that the expenses incurred are far above these limits. Additionally, it also puts a huge burden on the election commission to conduct polls. The election commission incurs huge expenses on deployment of security personnel and polling staff, setting up polling stations and a whole host of related activities. The political parties will be doing a great service to the election commission as they could then use that time and energy for attending to more pressing and important work.

This practice of contesting multiple seats by a candidate in an Assembly or a Parliamentary election, sitting MPs contesting Assembly elections, state legislators contesting parliamentary elections etc should be discouraged and stopped forthwith. Candidates should contest only from one constituency and sitting MPs/ MLAs must resign their seats before filing nomination papers for another election.

The election commission should take it up with all political parties and impress upon them to do away with this practice of holding by-elections. By-elections, whether to the assembly or parliament, should be strictly avoided and held only in case of deaths of sitting members or such extreme exigencies.

G.S. Vijay Kumar is a senior corporate executive and a columnist.


Bye-Elections, C E C, Chief Election Commissioner, Elections, India, Indian Elections

Meet the author

author avatar G.S. Vijay Kumar
I am a management graduate and have worked as a senior executive for 25 years in the corporate sector.I am a columnist and write on management, Economics and socio-economic topics.

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