The Congress on Saturday hit out at the Narendra Modi government, accusing it of turning the Election Commission into its puppet.
While senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said “there is no need for any more proof that another independent institution has been captured by the Modi sarkar”, Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala alleged that the “Election Commission has become Election Omission”.
“Mr Ashok Lavasa, EC, complained that his ‘dissent’ was not being recorded and hence decided to stay away from meetings of the Commission. The CEC has replied that silence is eloquent…,” said Chidambaram.
“CEC tells the people that some matters are best kept ‘internal’. Is he saying that the people — the voters — should not know or be concerned about the manner in which the Commission is conducting its business? There is no need for any more proof that another independent institution has been captured by the Modi sarkar,” he added.
“Election Commission has become Election Omission. Ashok Lavasa, who dissented on multiple occasions when the Election Commission was busy giving clean chits to the Modi-Shah duo, has opted out of EC meetings as the ECI has refused to record his dissent notes. This is a daylight murder of Constitutional norms, set conventions and propriety,” Surjewala said.
He argued that the rules of the EC express preference for a unanimous view, but provide for a majority ruling in the absence of unanimity. “Being a Constitutional body, the minority view has to be recorded, but this is being trampled on to protect the Modi-Shah duo,” he said.
“All Election Commissioners have equal say in the decision making of the commission. Omitting the dissent of Election Commissioner, simply because he had asked for a notice to be issued to the Prime Minister Modi, has severely tarnished the institutional integrity of the Election Commission,” he added.
Arguing that erosion of institutional integrity has been the hallmark of the Modi government, he said PM Modi “has taken upon himself the task of denigrating, damaging, decimating, dislodging and diminishing the sanctity of every institution of India”.
“The EC must decisively intervene to ensure free and fair poll. Question marks over its impartiality are ominous for Indian democracy,” CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.