After facing an embarrassing defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, AAP seems to have started with its campaign for the upcoming assembly elections in the state. Continuing with its tactics of subversion, AAP has claimed that the Election Commission is planning to pre-pone the assembly elections in the state. According to the claims made by Aam Aadmi Party leader, Election Commission is planning to move the elections to around October with other states which would also be undergoing assembly election poling namely Maharashtra and Haryana. AAP had formed the government on 13th February 2015, hence its term comes to an end on 12th February 2020.
AAP Secretary and Spokesperson, Saurabh Bharadwaj had in a tweet made these claims regarding the Election Commission. Citing ‘strong buzz’ he had put out these claims. he tweeted:
“Very strong buzz- EC will hold Delhi elections along wid other states in October itself, four months before end of present assembly’s tenure. Can EC do that? Can EC curtail the period of duly elected assembly?”
Very strong buzz- EC will hold Delhi elections along wid other states in October itself, four months before end of present assembly’s tenure.
Can EC do that?
Can EC curtail the period of duly elected assembly?
— Saurabh Bharadwaj (@Saurabh_MLAgk) May 31, 2019
However, the Election Commission has rejected these claims. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora told The Hindu that the poll body had not even discussed the upcoming Assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana yet. AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said they would fight the election if that happens in October. When asked whether the Election Commission can hold the election in Delhi in October 2019 as alleged by AAP, former Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami told The Hindu, “Under the law, the ECI is empowered to hold the election anytime within the period of six months before the expiry of the term of a legislative Assembly or Parliament.”
According to Section 15 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which provides for the conduct of parliamentary and assembly elections, a notification for assembly election can be issued any time earlier than six months prior to the date of expiry of the assembly’s term. The article states regarding notification regarding elections “no such notification shall be issued at any time earlier than six months prior to the date on which the duration of that Assembly would expire”.
If the elections are held in October 2019 they would fall under the 6-month permissible window. AAP fears if the elections are held in October, the huge anti-AAP wave witnessed in the Lok Sabha polls may impact their prospects in the assembly elections. AAP which is already struggling to hold political ground in Delhi posted a dismal performance with candidates losing by margins as high as 6 lakh votes.
When asked whether Election Commission needs the Chief Minister’s permission for it, Mr. Gopalaswami told The Hindu, “EC needs no permission from any other authority as the matter is within its powers.” Citing an example, Mr. Gopalaswami said though the Himachal Pradesh State election was held in November – December 2007, the Assembly’s tenure was to expire only in March 2008.