The Election Commission today admitted that there was a "communication gap" between Varanasi Returning Officer and BJP over permission for a Narendra Modi rally, the denial over which the poll body drew flak from the saffron party.
Election Commissioner H S Brahma also said the delay in providing approval to Modi's programmes in Varanasi on Wednesday could have been avoided. "The RO should have explained to the applicant (of the BJP) the reasons for not allowing the programme (in Beniyabagh)...it should have been done in a professional manner...there was a communication gap between the RO and the applicant, I personally feel," he told Karan Thapar in 'To the Point' programme on 'Headlines Today'.
He said the area is surrounded by high rises and holding the programme late evening was a security hazard. A gathering of a large number of people in a small area was another problem, he added. Brahama said an error of judgement can happen as EC depends on the feedback of Returning Officers. "There are 543 ROs," he said.
Rejecting allegations of bias and that the EC was weak, he said "I do not accept the 'weakest EC' perception. It could be a perception of a few persons." Brahma said the EC should work more aggressively so that its image is not affected. "We should not only do a good job but be seen to be doing a good job," he said. On the delay on the part of the Commission in taking a decision on Rahul Gandhi for entering the 'EVM area' of some polling booths in Amethi on polling day, Brahma said decisions should be taken on such issues at the earliest.
"We should not take more than 6 to 10 hours...we will decide on the issue by end of today," he said adding people expect it to take quick decisions. He was responding to allegation by BJP that while EC ordered filing of FIR against Narendra Modi for violating electoral laws, it has not taken a decision on Gandhi entering at least two polling booths in Amethi on May 7 despite a lapse of 48 hours.