The Congress on Friday said the Election Commission does not have the jurisdiction to regulate issues such as freebies, and urged the panel to focus on ensuring free and fair polls through proper implementation of Election Laws.
The poll panel on October 4 had proposed amending the model code to ask political parties to provide authentic information to voters on the financial viability of their poll promises, a move that came amid the freebies versus welfare measures debate that had triggered a political slugfest.
Such issues are part of the dialectics of a vibrant democratic system and depend on wisdom, discernment and analysis of the electorate which should never be taken to be less than acute, the opposition party said.
Congress general secretary communications Jairam Ramesh wrote to the Election Commission (EC) “It is really something which is to be decided, be it pre-election or post-election, be it by way of electoral punishment or electoral acceptance and reward that the electorate decides the wisdom of such poll promises or campaign assurances and equally decides their breach and non-compliance,”
“Neither the Election Commission, nor the government, nor indeed even the courts, have jurisdiction to justiciate and regulate such issues. It would therefore be best for the commission to desist from doing so,” he said.
The Election Commission had also said that empty poll promises have far-reaching ramifications, adding it cannot overlook the undesirable impact inadequate disclosures on election promises have on financial sustainability. In a letter to all recognised national and state parties, the commission had asked them to submit their views on the proposals by October 19.