BJP leader LK Advani received some unexpected support today from M Karunanidhi, who is a senior partner in the UPA government.
Mr Karunanidhi, who heads the DMK, said he agrees with Mr Advani's suggestion that the country's Chief Election Commissioner should be selected by a committee to ensure transparency and avoid partisanship. "Just because Mr Advani is an Opposition leader, we must not ignore him," Mr Karunanidhi wrote in his party's newspaper. "People have no full confidence in the existing selection procedure," he added. The DMK and the BJP have worked as allies in the past. This open endorsement of a UPA opponent's view is being keenly watched in political circles.
Over the weekend, Mr Advani wrote to the Prime Minister stating that a collegium should select election commissioners. "The present system whereby members to the Election Commission are appointed by the President, solely on the advice of the Prime Minister, does not evoke confidence among the people,'' Mr Advani wrote.
Mr Advani said the selection committee should consist of the PM, the Chief Justice of India, the Law Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in both Houses of Parliament.
Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi reties later this month.
Mr Advani said in his letter to the PM that the selection committee he is suggesting should also be used to choose the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), who functions as the government's auditor. The CAG report on the telecom scam, which estimated losses of 1.76 lakh crores, created a perfect storm. Mr Karunanidhi's daughter, Kanimozhi, and A Raja, one of his party's most senior leaders, were arrested and are now on bail. They are being tried in a Delhi court for the second-generation or 2G scam, so named because of the type of airwaves involved.