Representative image | Photo: Mathrubhumi
New Delhi: Opposing the Election Commission proposal to change the model code to ask political parties to provide authentic information to voters on financial viability of their poll promises, the Left parties said it was not the poll body's job to "regulate" policy pronouncements.
In a letter to all recognised national and state parties, the Election Commission (EC) has said empty poll promises have far-reaching ramifications, adding that it could not overlook the undesirable impact inadequate disclosures on election promises have on financial sustainability.
"The Constitution mandates the EC to conduct free and fair elections. It is not the Election Commission's job to regulate policy pronouncements and welfare measures that political parties promise to the people. This is solely the prerogative of political parties in a democracy," the CPI(M) said in a statement.
"We strongly oppose to any effort to circumscribe or regulate the right of political parties to address people's concerns and offer policy measures to ameliorate their problems. EC's proposal is an unwarranted move," it said.
The party also said the EC, had in an affidavit to the Supreme Court in April, stated that the poll watchdog could not regulate policy decisions of political parties and that it would be an overreach of powers.
"It is surprising that the Election Commission has now taken a contrary stand. Is this due to pressure being exercised by the executive," it asked.
In a separate statement, the CPI said the EC's move was "uncalled for" and would affect the independence of political parties to decide on their agenda.
"The Election Commission is in fact mandated by the Constitution of India to hold free and fair election. It has no authority to take steps to regulate the policies of political parties. Hence, such moves are violation of the mandate, disrespecting the Constitution and curbing the statutory rights of political parties," it said. PTI