"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. 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 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.
Charging the EC with having different yardsticks for different states, Javadekar said, "For BJP ruled states you come down heavily on the state governments and make them transfer. You can't grant permission at the eleventh hour (in Varanasi) and say we have given permission." He said the DM's action is absolutely wrong and he needs to be transferred by the EC but instead it is defending the indefensible.
"So what is the issue? The issue is you can't have different yardsticks for different states and you can't soft pedal Uttar Pradesh....The way the Commission is going is as if it has surrendered before the state government. This should not have happened," he said.
Javadekar said it was futile to give the party permission at "10'O clock in the night for a rally which needs at least 24 hours."
He asked if the poll panel could be strict with West Bengal and transfer officers, why could it not do so in Uttar Pradesh.
"You made Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal Chief Minister) accept the EC verdict and made the DM go on transfer and here you are not doing your work. Why?," Javadekar said.
Jaitley also enumerated the sequence of events and called them the "falsehoods" of the Varanasi Returning Officer.
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