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CPI-M calls for radical electoral reforms


New Delhi, Oct 22 :

The CPI-M Wednesday called for radical electoral reforms, saying the BJP was winning legislative majorities with just a third or less percentage of popular support.

This was due to the anomalies of the ‘first-past-the post’ system in elections, the Communist Party of India-Marxist said in an editorial in its journal “People’s Democracy”.

CPM CPI MThis called for “radical changes in our electoral system, including, moving towards a proportional representation through, may be, initially, a ‘partial proportional representation’ system practiced in several Western democracies today,” it said.

“The BJP seems to be by now perfecting the art of securing for itself a majority, under multi-polar electoral contests while receiving a third or less percentage of people’s support,” the editorial said.

“It won a comfortable majority in the Lok Sabha polling just 31 percent of the votes cast.

“In Haryana, it has now won a majority by polling 33 percent of the polled vote. In Maharashtra, it has won 123 seats polling only 29 percent,” it said.

“The results of these state assemblies have, again, underlined the urgency to initiate such reforms to strengthen our system of parliamentary democracy and make it truly democratic – rule of the majority.

“Instead, we now have continuously at the centre and in a majority of states, a situation when parties/coalitions control the government polling less votes in their favour than the votes polled against them.

“Such a distortion of democracy needs urgent correction,” it said.

The CPI-M said the Maharashtra verdict showed there had been a decline in support for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since the Lok Sabha election.

“The BJP and Shiv Sena which contested Lok Sabha elections together led in 245 of 288 assembly segments at that time.

“This time around, the BJP won 123 and Shiv Sena 63, together 186 in comparison. Even discounting a highly disputed theory that together they may have won more seats, this shortfall is still significant…

“The claims of growing BJP support in the country needs also to be tempered by the fact that in Maharashtra, it can only form the government by forging an alliance with some other parties,” it added.

“Under these circumstances, the claims by the BJP leaders that the era of coalition is over sounds incredulous.”