The big hue and cry that has been raised by the Bharatiya Janata Party over the Election Commission’s cancellation of one of its rallies in Varanasi is totally uncalled for (“Modi accuses EC of ‘match-fixing,’” May 9). More specifically, the remark by Arun Jaitley about the Chief Election Commissioner — “timid men can dwarf high offices” — is a deliberate insult delivered with the sole aim of placing the EC on the back foot. The CEC has given a detailed account of an acute security threat perception toward Narendra Modi.
I would like to ask a hypothetical question: supposing the EC had allowed the rally and subsequently there had been a terrorist attack of some kind, wouldn’t the same group of people criticising the body now not accuse it of being part of a larger conspiracy to get rid of Mr. Modi? The EC is in an unenviable position — damned if it does (take a decision) and damned if it doesn’t!
The EC’s refusal of permission to Mr. Modi to conduct a rally in Varanasi but allowing Rahul Gandhi to do the same has cast a shadow of doubt on the body’s impartial nature. Constitutional functionaries are also accountable to the people for their actions. Overreliance on local authorities for inputs on the ground situation could have been avoided. There are exceptional situations where professional advice should be sought and reviewed. The EC should have posted special observers in sensitive constituencies like Varanasi much earlier to avoid this controversy.
The EC under V.S. Sampath has been terribly prejudiced against the BJP. It has raided the BJP’s office in Varanasi, it has failed to take proper action against Rahul Gandhi for his inciting speech — that 22,000 people would be killed if Mr. Modi comes to power — and it has also failed to act against him for entering polling booths in Amethi on polling day and going near voting spots where the EVMs were kept. Further, the EC refused to allow Mr. Modi to address a rally in Varanasi while allowing Mr. Gandhi. All this proves that it is not impartial.