Varanasi showdown: Not afraid of anyone, parties should show ‘greater maturity’, says EC

EC rejected BJP's charge of being bias in denying permission to Narendra Modi's rally in Varanasi.

By: Press Trust of India Written by Raghvendra Rao | New Delhi | Updated: May 8, 2014 9:45 pm

Hours after BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi accused it of being “partisan” and “biased”, the Election Commission on Thursday attempted to re-assert its authority, saying that it was “not afraid of anyone”.

Addressing a press conference here, Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath said, “The commission is not afraid of anyone — any political party or any entity — in discharging its duties.” Flanked by Election Commissioners H S Brahma and Dr Nasim Zaidi, Sampath said political parties should show “greater maturity” while referring to the EC.

While stating that it would probe the BJP’s allegations against Varanasi District Magistrate Pranjal Yadav, the EC said from its inquiries so far, it had “no reason to doubt the sincerity of the officer”.

Reiterating its status as a constitutional body, the EC deplored “attempts to cast aspersions” on it, saying it had “taken note of certain harsh and sweeping statements” by some parties. “We have taken note of certain statements and utterances made by certain leaders and have expressed our disappointment over the same,” said Sampath, without naming anyone. “We don’t believe in naming anyone in press conferences,” he added.

Asked whether the EC was mulling action against such parties, Sampath said, “In a democratic system like ours, political parties have a right to complain. We will not take action merely because somebody is complaining.” When it was pointed out that in this case, Modi was not complaining but was accusing the EC of being partisan, Sampath said, “We’ll definitely take note of this.”

On charges that the EC was not acting “boldly”, Sampath said “the commission had never flinched in performing its duties with boldness” and cited the ban it imposed on some star campaigners accused of making inflammatory speeches.

Stating that the Varanasi issue was an “unseemly controversy”, Sampath said, “When the security and suitability issues are involved, the EC will naturally go by the professional advice taken at the district level. The competent local authority, the DM and his team took the decision, taking into consideration relevant professional advice on security. There is no reason to deviate from the decision taken at the district level, especially when the issue of life and security are concerned.”

Asserting that the “credibility and neutrality” of the Indian elections was a national heritage, Sampath said he did not think the EC could be blamed for not giving a favourable decision to a political party. “There shall never be a situation where the commission will deviate from neutrality,” he said, adding that any attempts to cast aspersions would cause “long-term damage” to its independence and neutrality.

 

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    75sputnik
    May 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm
    nice! strong leadership is what we need. as long as they're fair to all parties.
    Reply
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      Anand Sudan
      May 8, 2014 at 3:29 pm
      But sampath is afraid of dynasty, that is why he is not taking any action against Rahul for entering voting comparment ,violating election rules
      Reply
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        Anand Sudan
        May 8, 2014 at 3:27 pm
        By declining permission to a candidate in an election, on the ground of security, to address his voters in a part of his consuency, the DM has done a great injustice. It cannot be justified on any count. It is all the more distressing that Rahul and kejri has been given permission to hold road shows and rally. Thus the election authority has denied the level playing ground to the prinl opposition party's PM candidate. what is more regretful is the EC"s strong defence infavour of the DM EC should understand that it is creating a wrong precedent. Now any officer can deny permission to candidates to address their voters under the pretext of security threat showing Varanasi DM's present decision and CE's approval of it
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          IRVA RAO
          May 8, 2014 at 5:54 pm
          MR SAMPATH HAVE YOU NOT LEARNT AYTHING FROM MR. T N SESHAN??????YOU HAVE LET DOWN THE INTEGRITY OF THE EC. BE LIKE TN SESHAN MR SAMPATH .BE FIRM AND FAIR AND NOT BIASED . I WOULD LIKE TO ASK YOU WOULD YOU HAVE STOPPED RAHUL HI FROMHAVING A RALLY IN AMETHI CITING SECURITY ??????????????????????WAKE UP WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA ARE WATCHING YOU . BE LIKE SESHAN AND NOT LIKE A PERSON WHO HAS NO SPINE
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            Raj Sharma
            May 8, 2014 at 4:08 pm
            If the EC cannot maintain law and order, it should postpone the election. Also, why is it OK for Rahul to have a rally but not Modi. Rahul is not even a candidate but Modi is. The congress has packed all government posts with its chamchas.
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              sangeeth
              May 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm
              Well, EC says they are not afraid of any one. Do they feel someone is trying to scare them? Then who? The issue is not of being afraid or someone scaring someone else. If there are complaints EC should address them and if there are allegations of rigging they should conduct repolls. They should not diminish their authority by getting into TuTu.. Main Main..slanging match with parties
              Reply
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