Hitting out at the Election Commission (EC), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday said “timid men can dwarf high offices” as the party protested against the refusal of permission for Narendra Modi’s rally in Varanasi.
“I cannot conceal my disappointment with the Election Commission. Men in constitutional offices need to be bolder. Timid men can dwarf high offices,” BJP leader Arun Jaitley wrote on his blog.
He also accused the EC of being “out of depth” in preventing instances of booth capturing during the latest round of polling.
“The Election Commission scrutinises 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,” he said.
Mr. Jaitley alleged that by condoning the Returning Officer’s stand on ‘No-Modi rally’ in Varanasi city the Commission has used the security card to prevent the BJP prime ministerial candidate’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,” the BJP leader, who is camping in Varanasi, said.
He said the EC 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,” he said.
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said by denying permission to Mr. Modi’s rally, the poll body has “surrendered” before the Uttar Pradesh government.
Calling the action of Varanasi District Magistrate and Returning Officer Pranjal Yadav in this regard as “absolutely wrong”, he said the EC was “defending the indefensible” and demanded his transfer.
BJP workers protested in Varanasi and in Delhi against the EC move.