Stakeholders have the right to criticise but the Election Commission (EC) cannot be made part of political brinkmanship, Sunil Arora, the new Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), told The Indian Express in an interview Thursday. Underlining the credibility of the electoral process, Arora said that EVMs, over decades, have enabled the election of different political parties to power and the machine cannot be “vilified in case of Result X and deemed okay in case of Result Y.”
“ECI would not like to be part of any political brinkmanship,” said Arora, who succeeded OP Rawat on December 2.
Apart from Parliament elections, Arora, as CEC, will also oversee the conduct of assembly elections in Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand, Delhi, Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir. He will retire in April 2021.
Responding to criticism over the delay in announcing the Madhya Pradesh poll winner, he said that the Commission is not in the race of calling elections first but its priority is to get the results correct. “When candidates and their agents ask questions and insist on settling their doubts, then delays are natural,” he added.
Asked about recent allegations of partisanship made by political parties against the EC, Arora said, “My colleagues and I would carry out our duties in conformity with the letter and spirit of the Constitution. The interactions with political parties that I have attended in the Commission headquarters and on our visit to the states have been very pleasant. I cannot account for what one says to the media after stepping out. You should ask them.”