Nagpur, Oct 9: Holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas is very desirable but legally not feasible, opined India’s former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dr. S. Y. Quraishi.
The former CEC was in Nagpur to deliver the Late Padmabhushan Maulana Abdul Karim Parekh Memorial Lecture at RSTM Nagpur University. In an exclusive interview with www.newsbharati.com at the residence of Majid Parekh on October 6, Dr Quraishi spoke on a variety of issues.
While the country was debating holding simultaneous elections to save the expenditure, the former CEC who has authored a book “An Undocumented Wonder- the Making of the Great Indian Election’ describing the enormity and complexity of the Indian elections, said that simultaneous elections was the most desirable concept but not feasible.
In our country, elections involved lots of expenditure in movement of material, men and security forces. Availability of adequate security personnel was also a major factor that influences the holding of elections. Besides, the issues related to availability of EVMs, VVPats and expenditure also need to be thought over before arriving at any decision on the issue of simultaneous polls.
Quraishi said that above all the “real factor that is going to affect this process is the constitutional issue”. The terms of various vidhan sabhas do not collaborate with each other. If we insist on simultaneous elections than some vidhan sabhas may have curtail their terms and some other will have to extend their terms which is against the constitution. How we are going to manage this?
The former CEC however welcomed the Prime Minister for raising this issue. “The Prime Minister has only asked for a debate on the issue of simultaneous elections. He is seeking consensus, which is OK”, he said.
Triple Talaq: Welcoming the Supreme Court decision on the practice of ‘triple talaq’ Dr Quraishi said that the practice of triple talaq was more despicable and the Supreme Court decision should be welcomed by all. “In fact, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) should have come forward to abolish this evil practice and declared it as illegal, but it did not and lost a chance to the Supreme Court”, he said.
Endorsing the need for social reforms in the Muslim community he said that lack of social reformers was the main factor responsible for backwardness of Muslims. “Social reforms must come from within the community then it has a better compliance. But this has not happened in the Muslim community”.
He said that Indian Islam was different form Saudi Islam in the sense that Indian Muslims share the same cultural similarity and caste affiliation with the Hindus and other Indian communities. But unfortunately, Muslims are not following the true Islam, he lamented pointing to lack of education among the community. The Indian Muslims should change with the changing times and improve their lot, he suggested.
Quraishi referred to internecine wars between the 45 Muslim countries in the world. “They are fighting with each other defying the myth of ‘Islamic Umma’ or ‘Muslim brotherhood’ he said adding that this also proved that religion cannot be the only factor for making a nation.
Hindus are secular: Referring to the secular character of India, he said India is secular because most Hindus are secular. “Hindustan is secular because Hindus are secular”, he reiterated. Though there were incident of violence but those were the aberrations. “Incidents like partition bloodshed are hiccups in between”, he added.