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Tamil Nadu Assembly passes resolution against delimitation and ‘One Nation, One Election’

In his speech after moving the resolutions, Stalin said the only way to ensure that Southern states, which implemented population control measures with utmost sincerity, are not “penalised” is to maintain the “present ratio” of Parliament and Assembly constituencies in states which were fixed based on the 1971 Census by amending the Constitution.
Last Updated : 14 February 2024, 08:00 IST
Last Updated : 14 February 2024, 08:00 IST

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Chennai: Chief Minister M K Stalin on Wednesday nudged the Union Government to junk the ‘One Nation, One Election’ proposal and not to go ahead with the delimitation exercise due in 2026 based on the latest Census figures that could reduce the political representation of Southern states, as the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed two resolutions on the above matters.

In his speech after moving the resolutions, Stalin said the only way to ensure that Southern states, which implemented population control measures with utmost sincerity, are not “penalised” is to maintain the “present ratio” of Parliament and Assembly constituencies in states which were fixed based on the 1971 Census by amending the Constitution.

“This august house urges (the Centre) that states like Tamil Nadu should not be penalised for implementing various socio-economic development programmes and welfare schemes for the benefit of the people over the past 50 years,” one of the resolutions, passed with support from members cutting across party lines, read.

Terming the 'One Nation, One Election’ policy as “impractical” and against the basis of democracy, the second resolution said holding elections to local bodies, state assemblies and Parliament simultaneously in a vast and diverse country like India is against the idea of “democratic decentralisation."

The resolutions were passed just months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, which the DMK plans to fight on the planks federalism, delimitation, and non-release of funds by the Centre to Opposition-ruled states.

Stalin, during the course of his long speech, termed delimitation as a “Damocles sword” hanging over the heads of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Telangana due to the fear that the exercise which is likely to take place in 2026 might reduce their political representation.

“This should be nipped in the bud…Delimitation could be a conspiracy to reduce the number of Parliaments seats from Southern states like Tamil Nadu,” Stalin said.

Political parties in South India fear delimitation based on population will reduce their political representation and feel that they are being “penalised” for effectively controlling population in the past few decades.

Giving an example of how states which controlled population effectively may be penalised if the 2026 delimitation takes place based on latest population figures, Stalin said the population of Tamil Nadu and Bihar was almost the same in 1971 and that is the reason the two states have 39 and 40 Lok Sabha seats respectively.

“Today, Bihar’s population is 1.5 times more than Tamil Nadu. If the Union Government’s delimitation exercise comes into force, Tamil Nadu’s representation in Parliament will be less than many north Indian states. Such a situation is scary as we already plead with the Union Government with 39 MPs. The bargaining power will come down,” he said.

Redrawing constituencies based on population will “weaken” states like Tamil Nadu, Stalin said, asking the Union Government to postpone such an exercise till all states follow population control measures rigorously.

“India is a country that has several states with a federal structure. No state is bigger or important than the other. Every state should be treated equally. Political representation solely based on population will be dangerous to a democratic set up. Such a measure will only lead to further resistance in the country,” the Chief Minister added.

On ‘One Nation, One Election’, Stalin said such a plan was “impractical” and against the basic tenets of the Constitution which stresses on “free, fair, and independent” elections.

“Simultaneous elections might lead to dissolution of state assemblies. Since such a move is anti-Constitution, we need to oppose this tooth and nail. If a government at the Centre falls, will they dissolve all state governments?” Stalin asked.

He also sought to know whether those ruling at the Centre will step down on their own if elections are to be held in some states if the government of the day fell due to lack of majority. Punching more holes in the concept of ‘One Nation, On Election’, Stalin said the move to conduct simultaneous elections for local bodies would also amount to snatching the rights of state governments.

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Published 14 February 2024, 08:00 IST

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