EC rejects BJP’s charge of bias to Modi rally in Varanasi

The Election Commission on Wednesday rejected BJP’s charge of adopting a biased approach in denying permission to its prime ministrial candidate Narendra Modi to hold a public meeting in Varanasi on Thursday saying it does not accept “insinuation” of inaction or bias in this issue.

It also said if any officer is found working in a partisan manner or not discharging duty, the Commission will take strict action against him.

“The Comission is getting all the facts about the developments in Varanasi, particularly in relation to the request which have been received from BJP for holding certain meeting and events there.

“Local authorities, the district administration there, who are directly in charge of law and order, have their assessment in the matter,” Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi said.

He said the poll body is tracking the matter and will conduct fair and peaceful polls.

“The Commission does not accept insinuation of inaction or bias in this regard. As in all matters, the Commission will act correctly while facilitating legitimate campaigning by all political parties,” he said referring to BJP’s allegation of bias.

BJP mounted a sharp attack on the Election Commission accusing it of being a “mute spectator” to the “highly partisan” role of Varanasi Returning Officer Pranjal Yadav who cited an intelligence report of possible communal tension for his action.

The crowded Veeniya Bagh locality of Varanasi, where BJP sought permission for Modi’s rally, has a record of communal tension and law order incidents were feared. The BJP insists it will hold Modi’s rally only in this place and not elsewhere.