Congress raps government, EC over Lavasa’s plaint

NEW DELHI:  The Congress on Saturday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa’s letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora regarding his dissent in EC decisions related to the model code of conduct (MCC) going unrecorded and asked whether it was “Election Commission or Election Omission”.

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “Lavasa, one of the three members of the Central Election Commission (CEC), who dissented on multiple occasions when the Election Commission was busy, giving clean chits to the Modi-Shah duo, opts out of EC meetings, as the ECI even refused to record his dissent notes.”

In a letter to the CEC on May 4, Lavasa recused himself from the full commission meetings related to the model code of conduct after his “minority decisions” on the clean chit to PM Modi and BJP President Amit Shah on their respective speeches went unrecorded.

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Calling it “a daylight murder of constitutional norms, set conventions and propriety”, Surjewala said the poll panel’s rules express preference for the unanimous view, but provide for a majority ruling in the absence of unanimity.

“Being a constitutional body, the minority view has to be recorded, but this is being trampled to protect Modi-Shah duo,” the Congress leader said.

According to him, frustrated by the political pressure on the EC, Lavasa added he might consider taking recourse to other measures aimed at restoring the lawful functioning of the poll panel. “This speaks volumes about the political pressure being exerted by the Modi government on the Election Commission,” he said.

“As per the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991, if the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners differ in opinion on any matter, such matters are decided according to the opinion of the majority,” the Congress leader said.

“The EC transacts its business by holding regular meetings and also by circulation of papers. All Election Commissioners have equal say in the decision making of the EC,” he said.

Omitting the dissent of Election Commissioner Lavasa, simply because he had asked for a notice to be issued to the PM Modi, had severely tarnished the EC’s institutional integrity, Surjewala said.

According to him, the Congress had filed as many as 11 complaints to the EC about the brazen poll code violation by Modi and Shah, but the complaints were thrown in the dustbin.

Insisting that erosion of institutional integrity was the hallmark of the Modi government, Surjewala tweeted, “Erosion of institutional integrity is the hallmark of the Modi government! The SC judges going public, the RBI Governor resigning, the CBI Director getting removed, the CVC giving vacuous reports and now the divisions in the Election Commission! Will the EC save itself the embarrassment by recording Lavasa’s dissent notes.”

He said Modi had taken upon himself the task of denigrating, damaging, decimating, dislodging and diminishing, the sanctity of every institution of India.

“For the first time in 70 years, four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court had to go to the public to seek justice. Four economic advisors stepped down and two RBI Governors were unceremoniously removed for standing to the economic misdemeanours of PM Modi,” he remarked.

The Modi government’s “sinister attempt” to hide the NSSO data on jobs was exposed by the resignation of the independent members of the autonomous National Statistical Commission (NSC), Surjewala said and added, “The government used the CVC to publish a fallacious report, based on which an incumbent CBI Director was illegally removed.”

“The nation has to count only five more days to overthrow the five years of mal-governance of the Modi government,” he said.

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