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Not voting for Prez is unconstitutional: NDA
July 16, 2007 17:33 IST
Jolted by the Third Front's decision to abstain from presidential elections, the National Democratic Alliance, which is backing independent candidate Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, on Monday petitioned the Election Commission to declare the move unconstitutional.
After meeting Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lal Kishenchand Advani said that the opposition alliance believes "compulsive abstention" has no place in presidential elections.
"If it is allowed, it will deny representation to a large section of the electorate, which will directly be contrary to parliamentary democracy and the principle of representation of citizens through elected members," he said.
Advani said he had been told that the full Election Commission would discuss the NDA's petition.
In its six-page memorandum, the NDA wrote that the EC was required to clarify that MPs or MLAs were "entitled" to ignore decisions or directions from their parties to abstain in presidential elections.
"The Election Commission of India may, therefore, consider passing appropriate order(s), under Article 324 of the Constitution restraining political parties from issuing any direction to their MPs/MLAs to abstain from voting in the forthcoming presidential elections," it said.
Any such direction, the NDA said, deserved to be ordered as "unconstitutional and non-est".
NDA leaders also said no political party should be allowed to act against its MPs or MLAs for voting in violation of its abstention call.