Election Commissioner H.S. Brahma's views differs from CEC V.S. Sampath

Election Commissioner H.S. Brahma on Friday admitted that there had been “lapses” on the part of the Returning Officer in Varanasi in communicating the ground situation to the BJP.

The admission came a day after the Election Commission had backed the Returning Officer who denied permission to BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to hold a rally in the city.

At an interactive session with the Indian Women’s Press Corps here, Mr. Brahma said the officer was entitled to take a decision under the law but at the same time he had the obligation to communicate the reasons as early as possible to the party concerned. Describing the entire episode as “unfortunate,” the Election Commissioner said things “should not have escalated” to a level that the central poll body had to intervene. He maintained that since Varanasi was a VIP constituency and the authorities were dealing with “a very important personality,” decisions should have been conveyed fast.

On Thursday, Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath said the District Magistrate denied permission on the “basis of professional advice” on security-related concerns and there was no need to “deviate” from it.