New Delhi, May 8: Categorically rebutting charges of partisanship levelled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at meetings in Varanasi, Delhi and in other parts of Uttar Pradesh, Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath said the Election Commission has functioned professionally throughout to ensure free and fair polls.
Addressing a press conference here, Sampath said the EC would not transfer the returning officer deployed in Varanasi, and defended the district magistrate of Varanasi for denying Modi permission to address a rally in the congested Bemiyan area of the holy city.
Sampath said the returning officer and the district magistrate had forwarded a report on the situation that led to the decision to ban the rally to the EC, and the EC had acted on the professional advice given to it.
“EC has come across certain harsh statements. We reassure that EC is doing their job in a strict and non-partisan manner,” said Sampath.
Sampath urged all political parties to display greater maturity while referring to a constitutional body like the Election Commission, and added that the commission is not afraid of anyone, or any political party or entity.
He also sought a report on the allegation that Rahul Gandhi had violated the model code of conduct by going to the polling area in booths in Amethi.
Addressing a rally in Azamgarh, Modi on Thursday accused the EC of being biased and partial.
“I had warned you (EC) on April 24 that you have failed to do your duty properly. I accuse the election commission of being partial and biased,” said Modi.
He alleged that there are reports of poll rigging in UP, Bihar and West Bengal, and said that in the previous three phases of the elections there were several reports of poll disturbances and booth capturing.
He also said that there is a huge difference between this election and the previous elections, and added that it is the first time that results are already announced before the polling.
However, the Congress Party hit back through Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who described the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) protest against the Election Commission as an act of desperation.
“BJP is getting a bit desperate that is why they are making outrageous attacks on Election Commission. BJP’s statements against the Election Commission are an act of desperation,” Chidambaram said at a press conference in New Delhi.
Referring to Modi indirectly,Chidambaram said: “When PM candidate of BJP makes outrageous remarks on the Election Commission, it reveals the character of the person and not the poll panel.” (ANI)