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President’s Rule would have been right thing to do in Karnataka: TS Krishnamurthy

Former chief election commissioner TS Krishnamurthy says first-past-the-post election system has resulted in very undesirable consequences and should be done away with.

india Updated: May 21, 2018 14:05 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Hyderabad
President's Rule,Karnataka,TS Krishnamurthy
Police personnel maintain vigil outside the Vidhana Soudha of Karnataka during a vote of confidence motion against the Bharatiya Janata Party's BS Yeddyurappa's government in Bengaluru on May 19, 2018.(Reuters Photo)

Imposition of President’s Rule would have been the right thing to do in Karnataka, where assembly elections threw up a hung verdict with no party getting absolute majority to form the government, former chief election commissioner TS Krishnamurthy said.

“...if the government cannot be formed because of the situation in Karnataka, then the right thing would have been to impose President’s Rule,” he told PTI.

Noting that all three parties -- the BJP, the Congress and the JD(S) -- have not secured the majority, Krishnamurthy opined that governor Vajubhai Vala should have imposed President’s Rule for three months and, if no government is formed within this time-frame, then recommend dissolution of the House and conduct of fresh elections.

“I am not saying President’s Rule is the solution, but it could have avoided all this wastage of time, money, horse trading, bargaining for portfolios and things like that,” he said.

On the first-past-the-post election system, where a candidate winning highest number of votes is declared winner, Krishnamurthy said it should be done away with.

“First-past-the-post system should go, that has resulted in very undesirable consequences...people with 20-25 per cent votes they get elected. Otherwise (if this system is not done away with) there will be loyalty to particular sectional interest like caste, creed or language whatever,” he said.

“The best thing is to either introduce proportional system, where political parties get seats based on the percentage of votes they get, or insist on 33.33% vote to be polled by the winner in which case smaller sections will play a less role and there will be more loyalty towards the constituency,” he suggested.

If no candidate gets at least 33.33% votes, then there should be re-election in that constituency.

“In many countries, 50%-plus-one-vote is insisted upon for winning. As a first step, (we need to insist on getting) 33.33% (votes for winning)...may be for the next five to 10 years, and thereafter make it 50% (votes to be declared winner) so that political parties will not represent sectional interest,” Krishnamurthy said.

According to him, there should also be a separate law regulating functioning of political parties. “And that law should also provide that once you are elected, you cannot be changing the party for the formation of the government”.

The former chief election commissioner also called for a separate election fund, and said corporates and individuals contributing to this fund should get 100 per cent tax exemption

“That money will be used for elections so that there is no nexus between corporates and political parties”, Krishnamurthy added.

BS Yeddyurappa had on May 19 stepped down as the Karnataka chief minister without facing the floor test in the state assembly as the BJP fell short of numbers, following which JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy met Governor Vajubhai Vala, and said he had been invited to form the government.

The May 12 Karnataka assembly polls threw up a hung assembly, with the BJP emerging as the single largest party with 104 seats.

First Published: May 21, 2018 14:03 IST