The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
Court Judgement Rejects BJP Stand
The judgement of the five-member Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, on the presidential reference regarding the decision of the Election Commission on the Gujarat elections, is a decisive rejection of the stand taken by the BJP and the Vajpayee government. The judgement has upheld the stand of the Election Commission that under Article 324, it was fully within its powers to decide the date of the elections. The court has rejected the contention of the BJP and the Central government that under Article 174, elections have to be held within a period of six months of the last sitting of the House even if the Assembly is dissolved. The court has stated that this provision does not apply to a House which is dissolved.
Further, the court has clarified that it is the duty of the Election Commission to hold elections at the earliest and ruled out the applicability of Article 356 to impose President's rule following any interpretation given to Article 174.
The BJP had sought to cash in on the communal situation in Gujarat by ordering an early election. It had needlessly attacked the Election Commission for taking a considered decision not to hold early elections without first ensuring conditions for a free and fair poll. The court judgement has exposed the BJP's opportunist and anti-democratic position.