I cannot conceal my disappointment with the Election Commission. Men in constitutional offices need to be bolder. Timid men can dwarf high offices.
The Election Commission scrutinizes us all the time. They are extremely vigilant in tackling the side shows in the elections. They are concerned with what adjectives are used by whom.
But when it comes to preventing booth capturing which has reappeared after a decade in elections 2014 they are out of their depth.
By condoning the Returning Officer’s stand on ‘No-Modi rally’ in Varanasi city the Election Commission has used the security card to prevent Narendra Modi’s right to campaign in his constituency.
If you can’t ensure security, don’t hold the polls in the country. But if you do hold the polls please provide a level playing field.
You cannot deny the candidate the right to campaign.
Rahul Gandhi can have a road show in Varanasi but Narendra Modi cannot have a rally.
The security card is selectively used.
The Falsehood of the Returning Officer3
- Of all the permissions given to us by the Returning Officer, two are for the landing of the helicopter. How very fair. One helicopter has been allowed to land twice—once in the rural area and once in the city.
- I withdrew all applications at 20:10 hours yesterday since it is impossible to organize a function the next day if a “mid night” permission comes. He allowed a prayer permission after 48 hours of struggle and an oral refusal earlier.
- To meet a 150 eminent citizens at a hotel banquet hall he earlier said that Shri Modi cannot be allowed to drive into the city. Two hours after I withdrew all applications, he announced to the media that he was allowing Shri Modi to meet 150 people. How very liberal. These are all the permissions with regard to the campaigning in the city. Modi’s entire campaign in Varanasi city is restricted to a prayer at the Ganga Ghat and meeting 150 persons in a hotel. Additionally there are two helicopter landings.
- Can he produce any document that the BJP had agreed to an alternate site which is much smaller? No.
- If the Election Commission chooses to believe such a Returning Officer and feels that this is not a denial of opportunity to campaign, my right to Satyragrah begins.
- The Election Commission now condones the guilt of the Returning Officer.
- My advice to the Election Commission is—don't look helpless. Don’t merely rely on the Returning Officer and officials of the Uttar Pradesh Government. They are nominees of the people who want to prevent Modi. There is more to a campaign than a prayer and meeting 150 people.
In response to this, the EC made public their letter to Mr Jaitley on May 7 and also held a press conference linked below in short-takes