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Congress, opposition parties want more MPs, MLAs on basis of votes, not majority

The parties have argued before a Parliamentary panel that often the number of MPs or MLAs in the ruling side is disproportionate to the percentage of votes secured by the party.

india Updated: Jul 05, 2017 08:41 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Sources said that Congress and NCP advocated changes in the election system.
Sources said that Congress and NCP advocated changes in the election system.(PTI File Photo)

In the face of the stupendous rise of the BJP, the Congress and some other Opposition parties want a section of lawmakers in Parliament and assemblies to be elected on the basis of percentage of votes and not the majority. They want some seats to be filled up through the principle of proportional representation.

The parties have argued before a Parliamentary panel that often the number of MPs or MLAs in the ruling side is disproportionate to the percentage of votes secured by the party.

Sources in the panel on law and justice said that the Congress cited the 2014 Lok Sabha election and the last assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh to underline that the BJP, even with less than 50% votes, has sweeping majority in numbers. In Lok Sabha, BJP got 32% votes while in UP it secured 40% of the popular votes.

“There is concern that a large section of the people are unrepresented in the assemblies. This problem can be solved if some seats can be decided on the basis of the percentage of votes,” said a senior member of the panel.

Sources said that Congress and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) advocated changes in the election system on Tuesday. On Monday, the CPI(M) gave suggestions to the panel on how to make the election process more transparent and free from the influence of money.

In the past few months, the Centre has brought in some changes in law and introduced electoral bonds for parties to get corporate donations while reducing the ceiling of undisclosed donation from ₹20,000 to ₹2,000. Opposition parties, however, criticised the electoral bond and demanded better measures for reform.

The panel, led by Congress leader Anand Sharma, is deliberating on possible reforms with different political parties and other stakeholders. Some parties have suggested that to accommodate MPs elected through proportional representation, there should be at least 25% more seats in Lok Sabha and assemblies.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the NCP also suggested that corporates should be allowed to donate money directly to the Election Commission. “Out of the donation, the EC can give funds to candidates. In this way, dependence on cash to fight polls may be curbed,” said a member of the panel.