It is unfortunate that the high office of Chief Election Commissioner has become mired in an avoidable controversy. The timing of N. Gopalaswami’s suo motu recommendation to the President that Election Commissioner Navin Chawla be removed from office on the alleged ground of partisanship is suspect. The CEC is set to retire in April and the general elections are due in May. Does he want to stall Mr. Chawla’s appointment as the next CEC? To avoid controversies in future, all the three Election Commissioners should be placed on an equal footing. They should take turns to head the Election Commission.

D.B.N. Murthy,


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Mr. Gopalaswami has done a disservice to the institution he heads by recommending Mr. Chawla’s removal. His action and its timing raise questions about his intentions.

Anu Rajesh,


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Although the timing of the CEC’s recommendation leaves a lot to be desired, it would be better to wait for the full facts to emerge. If, indeed, he has based his recommendation on what transpired in 2006, it will tarnish his otherwise unblemished stint as CEC. The country can do without a needless controversy when the election is barely three months away.

Harisankar Kurup,


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Towards the end of his tenure, Mr. Gopalaswami has unnecessarily stirred up a controversy. That the BJP withdrew the petition it had filed against Mr. Chawla in the Supreme Court shows that there is not much substance to the allegations levelled against him. Mr. Gopalaswami has set a bad precedent. As an experienced bureaucrat, he should have avoided the situation he has created.

Alexander Alphonse,


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Considering the timing of Mr. Gopalaswami’s recommendation, his allegation that Mr. Chawla was ‘partisan’ does not seem bona fide. Had he been concerned about Mr. Chawla’s ‘partisanship,’ he should have voiced his view much earlier.

A. Sarthar,


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Mr. Gopalaswami’s constitutionally out-of-line action exposed by N. Ram in The Hindu reveals his designs in favour of the BJP in the Election Commission. His lack of even-handedness was shown up by the Election Commission’s strange method of conducting Assembly elections in West Bengal in multiple stages and turning a blind eye toward the intimidation of minority voters, and holding one-day Assembly elections in Gujarat.

It is quite natural for the BJP to extend its wholehearted support to the CEC’s turning tormentor instead of being a protector, as appropriately pointed out in the editorial “Shocking constitutional overreach” (Feb. 1).

Kasim Sait,


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