New Delhi - Terming the Election Commission's move to scrap the Rajya Sabha election in Jharkhand a "landmark" decision, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Sunday said it will deter "moneybags lacking political support" from jumping into the fray for the upper house.
In a post on his blog, Advani complimented Chief Election Commssoner S.Y. Quraishi for scrapping the election and said that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had also initiated an amendment to the Representation of the People Act to make voting in the Rajya Sabha elections open.
"Decision of the Election Commissioner based on reasonably credible apprehensions is a landmark decision. Together with the NDA amendment of 2003, and todayâ€™s precedent, moneybags with no political support would think thousand times before jumping into the fray,â€ť Advani said.
"Those concerned with the purity of elections have always felt distressed that affluent candidates who file their nominations for the Rajya Sabha without any evident support of the requisite number of MLAs to secure their victory often manage somehow to squeeze their way into the House or have a pawn elected by buying up MLAs," he said.
He said that the amendment to Representation of the People Act brought by the NDA government entailed that every elector belonging to a political party had to show his marked ballot paper to the authorised representative of his party before inserting it into the ballot box.
Advani noted it was first occasion in the history of Indian elections that the polling to the Rajya Sabha in a state has been halted midway by the Election Commission before the votes had been fully counted.
The BJP leader recalled that three MPs - Gurudas Dasgupta (Communist Party of India), Babulal Marandi (Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik) and Sharad Yadav (Janata Dal-United) - had made written
representations to the poll panel expressing apprehensions of horse trading and use of money power in the polls to buy votes of vulnerable legislators.
He said two independent candidates had been proposed by several legislators belonging to recognised political parties when those parties had themselves set up their candidates for the election.
Advani noted that a car was apprehended by Jharkhand police authorities March 30, the day of polling, on suspicion that it was carrying a large amount of unaccounted cash allegedly for the purpose of
distribution on behalf of R.K. Agrawal, an independent candidate. Search of the vehicle had yielded cash of Rs 2.15 crores.
Advani however noted that use of word â€ścountermandedâ€ť in media reports to describe the action of the election commission was not proper as the panel had not revoked an earlier decision.
"When the electoral process is not yet complete, and there is no result as yet, how can the result be revoked?" he said.
The poll panel had said in its decision that the election process for Rajya Sabha election from Jharkhand had been seriously vitiated and cannot be permitted to proceed.
It recommended to President Pratibha Patil to rescind the notification for biennial polls to Rajya Sabha relating to elections in Jharkhand.