The Election Commission (EC) is learnt to have sought a factual report from the Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) on Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh’s remark that Narendra Modi should be re-elected as the Prime Minister.
The EC is also examining the matter in the light of the only precedent from the early ‘90s when the poll panel, under T N Seshan, had pulled up Gulsher Ahmad, the then Governor of Himachal Pradesh, for campaigning for his son Sayeed Ahmed in Madhya Pradesh. He quit the post when the EC expressed displeasure over the misuse of official machinery for his son’s poll campaign.
Singh had courted controversy this week when he told reporters in Aligarh on March 23 that everyone wants Modi to win and it is necessary for the country.
“Hum sabhi log BJP ke karyakarta hain aur iss naatey se hum zaroor chahengey ke BJP vijai ho. Sab chahengey ek baar phir sey kendra mein Modi-ji Pradhan Mantri banein. Modi-ji ka Pradhan Mantri ban-na ye desh ke liye avashyak hai, samaaj ke liye avashyak hai (We are all BJP workers, so we will want the BJP to win. Everyone will want Modi to become the PM again. Modi becoming the PM is necessary for the nation and society),” he had said.
Singh made the comments in a bid to quell protests by party workers after the BJP, on March 21, announced sitting MP Satish Gautam’s name as candidate from Aligarh again. Gautam went to Singh’s residence on Friday to seek his “blessings”, but he was reportedly not given an appointment.
On Saturday, BJP workers began a protest outside Singh’s Aligarh residence since morning, gheraoed his car and set Gautam’s effigy on fire. By evening, the BJP high command communicated that its decision will not change, and the Rajasthan Governor subsequently invited Gautam and other party leaders to his residence, where they held a meeting.
Later, in a bid to assuage protesting workers, Singh remarked that Modi should be made the PM again.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot objected to the “unfortunate” remarks. He stated that Singh, as the Governor, should be non-partisan, and that it does not suit the dignity of his post.
In 2010, a Constitution bench headed by K G Balakrishnan had said that although some Governors may come from a political background, “they owe their allegiance and loyalty to the Constitution, and not to any political party, and are required to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”.
NITI V-C given time till April 2 to respond
The Election Commission has given NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar time till April 2 to respond. He was earlier asked to explain his criticism of Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s announcement on minimum basic income guarantee as a poll promise by Friday evening. On Thursday, he wrote to the Commission seeking an extension till April 5. However, EC agreed to April 3.