Narendra Modi's fierce attack on Election Commission today drew sharp condemnation from Congress and JD(U) which dubbed the criticism as "outrageous and unjustified" and an indication of its "desperation".
The BJP Prime Ministerial candidate escalated his attack on the EC, questioning the institution's neutrality and accusing it of "not being impartial". "I have a feeling that the BJP is getting a bit desperate. That is why it is making these outrageous attacks on the EC. The EC has allowed them to carry out their other events, then why should they take umbrage because just one event is denied", Congress leader and Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters at the AICC headquarters here.
Hitting out at Modi, he said when the Prime Ministerial candidate of a political party makes "outrageous comments against the EC, it speaks more about him rather than the EC." "I don't think it diminishes the authority of the EC, rather it reveals the character of the person making the allegations", he said, adding that the authority of the EC must be measured by the outcome of the polls, the turnout, violence or absence of it and not by the allegations levelled by somebody. Holding that by and large, the elections have taken place peacefully, he said the EC has done a "tremendous job, a splendid job".
At the same time, he said there are some aspects of rules and regulations which people can disagree with, but the overall job done by the EC is tremendous. Chidambaram's remarks came as BJP mounted an all- out attack on the EC over refusal of permission to Modi for holding a rally in Varanasi.
JD(U) also hit out at BJP and Modi, saying it would be difficult for the country to function if institutions like EC are made a poll issue for political gains. "Protesting against the EC is alright but making it a election issue and sitting on dharna for that is not correct. It is unjustified. If somebody sits on dharna against Supreme Court, how will the country function. EC is an institution just like that," JD(U) president Sharad Yadav told reporters.
Yadav said he was also denied permission on many occasions for holding public meetings in Varanasi but he had made it clear that the moment he would set foot in the city he would not hold dharnas to protest and instead conducted meetings in small rooms and halls.