Law Must Be Amended To Prevent Candidates From Contesting From More Than One Seat

Let me come straight to the moot point without beating about the bush . It baffles me as to why our laws allows a single candidate to contest from more than one seat without any reasonable ground whatsoever ? All the sensless and shameless expenditure incurred in holding elections go for a six when the same candidate wins both the seats and he/she is then required to vacate any one seat of their own choice ! Again , elections are held for the seat vacated and there is a huge wastage of money , time , government machinery and what not ! This is something which I myself find completely unacceptable ! No candidate should be allowed to contest from more than one seat under any circumstances .
I am not alone in feeling so . In an enlightening editorial titled “Two is one too much – The law should be changed to prevent our netas from contesting more than one seat” in ‘The Hindustan Times’ dated May 13 , 2014 , this very topic has been dwelt with in detail . Let me for my readers benefit dish out what I had read in it . It says that , “Elections , being regularly held for more than 60 years , have been one of independent India’s major successes . But some gaps still remain and those need to be plugged . One of those is the unhealthy practice of a candidate contesting from two constituencies . Of course , the law was amended in 1996 , prohibiting a person from contesting from more than two seats . But now the time has come to push the envelope to restrict a candidate to one constituency only . Logically there is no reason why it should not be so because just as a voter has one vote and can vote in only one constituency , the same reasoning should apply to the candidates as well . Surprisingly , it is high-profile personalities who contest from more than one seat .”
Needless to say, this makes an open mockery of those voters who with great expectations go out braving the scorching heat , dust and what to talk of serpentine long queues where they have to wait for many hours at a stretch to cast their vote only to later learn that their leader has chosen to vacate it in favour of another constituency from which they contested ! Nothing can be more unfortunate ! This is horrible !
In yet another very thought provoking masterpiece titled “The two-seat solution – One leader , one constituency should be a principle in electoral politics” dated March 31 , 2014 in ‘The Indian Express’ , the author Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan makes the whole picture crystal clear on this hot button topic . It says that , “Can there be any rationale for allowing one candidate to contest from two constituencies ? A prudent answer should be : none . Generally , prime ministerial or chief ministerial candidates do it as a safety measure . To be elected , they need to win one out of the two constituencies . However , if they win both , they need to resign from one , which forces a by-election . According to government records , in the 2009 Lok Sabha election , the per-constituency cost for conducting the poll was Rs 2-3 crore . The estimates for this year’s Lok Sabha elections are approximately Rs 5 crore per constituency . By-elections cost more ; unlike general elections , they don’t have the economic advantages of scale . It is also not fair to upcoming leaders , who have to vacate space to see that the bigger leaders can get their second seats . This is a violation of principle of equality ! The only way out is to make a leader’s candidature void if he or she files a nomination from more than one constituency . Like “one person , one vote” , the principle of “one leader , one constituency” should also be followed . Indeed , Section 70 of the RP Act prevents a leader from holding on to more than one seat . So , there can be no rationale in allowing a candidate to file nominations from more than one constituency .”
In a nutshell, this VVIP culture must now be consigned to the flames ! The earlier , the better ! Our national interests are paramount and they cannot be allowed to be bulldozed by vested interests of politicians ! Just like earlier amendments were made in our anti-defection laws to prevent a MP/MLA from walking over from the party on whose symbol they get elected to any other party without being deprived of membership similarly necessary amendments must be inserted to put in place the principle of “one leader-one seat” ! The earlier this is done , the better it shall be !
Sanjeev Sirohi

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