ElectionIssue of free gifts: A 'Supreme' notice is sent to the Center...

Issue of free gifts: A ‘Supreme’ notice is sent to the Center and the Election Commission regarding the seizure of election symbols

Issue of free gifts: The apex court has sought to cancel the political parties’ registration and confiscate their election symbols which are promising to provide free facilities to voters.

The Supreme Court has issued notices to the Election Commission and the Center related to a petition by parties opposing the illogical promise of free ‘gifts’ from government funds to woo voters.

PILs filed in the apex court seek cancellation of registrations and confiscation of election symbols of parties which promise voters free services. As part of the current elections in five states, many parties have promised free electricity and other amenities to ordinary voters. A farmer’s loan waiver has been a major election attraction in every election.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana has asked the central government and the Election Commission to respond within four weeks to the petition filed by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay. Nevertheless, the bench objected to the mention of selected states and political parties in the petition.

This type of promise should be stopped

In the hearing, senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the petitioner, stated that all political parties promise to provide freebies of various kinds to woo voters. He said that the common man has to bear the burden of these promises. According to him, some states are already in huge debt. It is therefore necessary to rein in such promises by political parties.

Election fairness is threatened by temptations

Petitioners argue that political parties who announce ‘gifts’ at the time of elections are unduly influencing voters. The election process is then compromised. These ‘temptations’ have shaken fair elections to their core.

Constitutional violations

In the petition, such decisions of political parties are described as violations of Article 14, 162, 266 (3), and 282. The petition urges the Election Commission to confiscate and cancel the registration of election symbols of political parties that had promised to distribute irrational free ‘gifts’ out of public funds. Politicians arbitrarily or irrationally promise ‘gifts’ for wrong gains and to win over voters, constituting bribery and undue influence.

The example given of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP),Thousands of crores will be needed every month in Punjab

According to the petition, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) needs Rs 12,000 crore per month to fulfill their political promises if they become the government in Punjab. The state needs Rs 25,000 crore per month if Shiromani Akali Dal wins power, and Rs 30,000 crore if Congress wins power, while GST collections are only Rs 1,400 crore per month. As stated in the petition, if the Punjab government cannot pay even salary and pension after repaying the loan, how can it give a ‘gift’? There is no doubt that Punjab is in increasing debt. Punjab’s outstanding debt has risen to Rs 77,000 crore. About 30,000 crore is being deposited in the current financial year.

Soon the parties will promise – “We will cook and feed you.”

Petitioner Upadhyay said that the time is not far away when one political party will offer to cook food for you at your home, while another will offer to feed you. Political parties are competing through populist promises.

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