The Election Commission today justified the decision to deny permission to Narendra Modi's rally in Varanasi city and came to the defence of the District Magistrate whose removal is being demanded by the BJP.
Addressing a hurriedly-called press conference here in the wake of protests by BJP over denial of permission, Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath said the EC was disappointed over questions being raised by BJP leaders over its functioning and "certain harsh and sweeping statements" made.
Sampath said the District Magistrate had denied the permission to the rally proposed to be held today on the "basis of professional advice" and there was no need to "deviate" from it. "When the security and suitability issues are involved, the Election Commission naturally will go by the professional advice taken at the district level," said the CEC, flanked by other two Election Commissioners. "The competent local authority, the DM and his team, took the decision taking into consideration relevant professional advice on security," he said.
"There is no reason to deviate from the decision taken at the district level, specially when the issue of life and security are concerned," Sampath said, in effect rejecting BJP's demand for removal of the DM who was accused of being partisan.