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Why KCR faces a legal battle ahead of Telangana Assembly polls

Political parties and organisations have moved the court against errors in the draft voters list.

 |  4-minute read |   10-10-2018
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Telangana is all set for the polls on December 7, exactly three months after chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) declared dissolution of the 119-seat legislative assembly on September 6. KCR is confident about coasting to a comfortable win, expecting the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to get much higher than the 63 of 2014, and is running down rivals, relying on choice invective, in a blitzkrieg.

Arch-rivals in the mahakutami (grand alliance), comprising of the Congress, Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Jana Samithi and the Communist Party of India, are crying foul over the poll schedule questioning the Election Commission’s announcement when the matter is sub-judice and the issue of "impure" electoral rolls is being examined by the High Court for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Political parties and organisations have moved the court against errors in the draft voters list. Besides the electoral roll discrepancies, another matter, coming before the court on October 10 and probably to be decided before the weekend, is the very decision to dissolve the assembly.

The Opposition, though claiming to be ready to face the electoral battle, is waiting eagerly for the outcome of both issues in court. Discrepancies in the electoral rolls continue to be high post verification of claims and objections and preparation of the final list. One such glaring oversight is that of two daughters of Secunderabad Cantonment legislator G Sayanna of the ruling TRS whose names are listed twice and thrice despite a thorough check of electoral rolls.

“The Election Commission has not removed fake voters or added the over 30 lakh wrongly removed names. It was only after the Congress approached the High Court that nearly 15 lakh names were re-included in the rolls,” says Telangana Congress Committee chief spokesperson Dasoju Sravan.

kcr-copy_101018011851.jpgKCR is confident about coasting to a comfortable win in the upcoming polls. (Photo: PTI)

After senior Congress leader Marri Shashidhar Reddy moved the High Court on the issue of deletion of names and discrepancies to the extent of 70 lakh voters, Telangana’s Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar has clarified that the court had not directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to stop the process of revision of electoral rolls. “ECI will go ahead with the publication of the voters list by satisfying the court. New vot ers will be enrolled till 10 days before the filing of nominations,” says Rajat Kumar. ECI appears to have done a balancing act in choosing December 7 as the polling date.

By raising the argument that the advancing of polls has abrogated and deprived more than 20 lakh first-time voters of their right to vote, petitioners supporting the Congress argued before the High Court, that the decision to dissolve the legislative assembly without convening it to take a decision amounted to playing fraud on the Constitution.

The question raised is how anyone could ascertain whether the decision to dissolve the assembly taken by the chief minister commanded the majority of the House. In support of the argument, the petitioners submitted that the ruling dispensation had encouraged defections subsequent to its election in 2014 and could enhance its strength from 63 to 90.

No test of strength had been conducted to ascertain whether more than 60 members were in support of the CM’s decision to dissolve the House and hence, it required a test on the legislative assembly floor.

While recommending dissolution, KCR has alleged that there was a conspiracy hatched by some Opposition parties, with an intention to stall the governance, in the state by approaching courts with false cases and hence it has become inevitable for him to recommend dissolution to curtail such immoral and unethical behaviour.

His contention is that the Opposition is levelling a series of allegations against the government and has filed more than 200 public interest petitions on projects with the intention to stall it and that it has compelled the TRS government to go to the people to seek a fresh mandate.

Normally the Opposition seeks the government’s dismissal. In Telangana, by opposing the advancing of elections, it is seeking continuation of the current government, which wants to go to the people post-premature dissolution of the assembly. This may open Pandora’s box on the interpretation of contentious provisions left open in the Constitution. The onus to interpret it constructively and conclusively is before the court.

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

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Assembly Elections 2018
Assembly Elections 2018

Writer

Amarnath K Menon Amarnath K Menon @amarnathkmenon

The writer is Hyderabad-based and senior editor, India Today.

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