According to the SDPI’s national general secretary, the organisation is “secular because it has members from all communities.”
Thiruvananthapuram: The Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associates were banned for five years by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday. However, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the PFI’s political wing, was exempt. According to an SDPI official, they are an autonomous organisation unrelated to the PFI.
According to a senior government official, because the SDPI is a recognised political party, any action must be launched by the Election Commission of India (ECI).
The SDPI was established in Delhi on June 21, 2009. On April 13, 2010, it was registered with the ECI. On the other hand, the PFI and its affiliated organisations are registered under the Societies of Registration Act of 1860.
Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey and Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar did not reply to demands for comment.
Since May, the ECI has de-listed or deemed inactive 537 parties as part of its continuous campaign against parties that have not fought elections in six years. However, under the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the ECI lacks the authority to deregister parties, which it has repeatedly requested in writing to the Law Ministry.
A senior EC official stated that action would have been taken against SDPI if it had been listed as a PFI affiliate, but as it was not named as of Wednesday, it is unlikely to face any action now.
Though SDPI has distanced itself from PFI, it published a statement criticising the ban on Wednesday. In a statement, the party said that the “decision of the Union BJP government to prohibit PFI and its affiliate organisations is a direct assault to democracy and the rights of people inherent in the Indian Constitution.”
When asked about the government’s allegation that SDPI activists were participating in criminal activity, Mr Thumbe stated, “Terror accused Pragya Singh Thakur is an elected member of the Lok Sabha.” A political party has thousands of members, and the party is not accountable for the criminal conduct of its members. Why are the Congress and BJP not held accountable when over 43% of Lok Sabha MPs have a criminal record?”
Following the September 22 national raids by the National Investigation Agency and other agencies, including Karnataka police, that resulted in the arrest of 109 PFI members and top leadership, State Home Minister Araga Jnanendra stated that it was “the first step toward abolishing PFI and SDPI.”