EC denies rift among members

EC denies rift among members

The Election Commission (EC) on Friday came out with a statement of unity, after an interview of one of its three members to a TV channel fuelled speculation about internal disquiet within the poll panel.

“The full commission would like to clarify that the top leadership, consisting of all three commissioners, functions as a team and is discharging its Constitutional responsibilities with firmness and with the required promptitude,” said the EC said in a late-night statement on Friday.

The panel’s principal secretary Shangara Ram issued the statement with the approval of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) V S Sampath and the two other Election Commissioners—H S Brahma and Nasim Zaidi.

In an interview to a TV channel earlier, Brahma had said he did not find anything wrong in the criticism by the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi after the party was denied permission to hold a rally at Benia Bagh in Varanasi.

The CEC had on Thursday told a news conference that the EC had been surprised and disappointed by the protests and criticism by the BJP.

Sampath was flanked by Brahma and Zaidi when he addressed the news conference on Thursday, shortly after the EC was accused of bias by the BJP and Modi.

In the interview, Brahma also appeared to have endorsed BJP leader Arun Jaitley’s allegation that the CEC had delayed response to his complaint over denial of permission to the rally in Varanasi.
Brahma’s words fuelled speculation about he being critical of the way the EC had handled the BJP’s complaint. 

On a question of delay in taking action against Rahul Gandhi for entering a voting compartment at Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, he also said people of the country want the EC to act promptly.
Brahma’s interview prompted the EC to strongly deny it was taking more-than-normal time to act against electoral violations.

He did not rule out a “leadership problem” within the EC, but said it would not be fair for him to make a comment on the issue.

“Most of the violations are disposed of with promptitude.  However, the subjects which require minute inputs from the field and requiring further verifications take little more time and are accordingly disposed of,” said the EC in its Friday night statement.

The panel claimed it acted with full alacrity on the issue of the BJP’s complaint over denial of permission to hold the rally in Varanasi.

The EC said it had verified ground realities from the District Administration and got it further verified at the level of Chief Secretary and Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh.

“The Commission would like to reaffirm that there is complete coordination amongst the Commissioners and all decisions are taken after due deliberation and in unanimity,” the EC said in its statement.

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