Don't go public, tells CEC after colleague protests

Ashok Lavasa, Sunil Arora and Sushil Chandra (PTI File Photo)

Chief Election Commissioner, Sunil Arora on Saturday virtually acknowledged the “diversion of views” among the members of the Election Commission, but argued against making it public, even as a letter written to him by his colleague, Ashok Lavasa, brought to the fore intensifying differences within the poll-panel.

The three members of the Election Commission are not expected to be template or clones of each other. There have been so many times in the past when there has been a vast diversion of views as it can and should be,” Arora said on Saturday. “But the same largely remained within the confines of (the) ECI (Election Commission of India),” he added, apparently conveying his disapproval to the letter written to him by one of his two colleagues coming to the public domain.

Lavasa recently wrote to Arora, protesting over his dissenting views on the Election Commission's decisions on the cases of an alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct going unrecorded.

The differences within the EC came to the fore even as the poll panel is preparing to hold the last of the seven phases of polling for the Lok Sabha elections on Sunday and the counting of votes on May 23 next.

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I have never personally shied away from a public debate whenever required, but there is a time for everything,” Arora said on Saturday.

Lavasa is learnt to have disagreed with Arora and the other Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on several decisions of the commission on the alleged violation of Model Code of Conduct by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah.

The EC ended up giving clean chits to Modi and Shah on all cases of the alleged violation of the MCC by them, despite dissenting minority views of Lavasa.

Lavasa wrote to Arora protesting over his dissenting minority views going unrecorded.

He wrote to the CEC conveying him that he would not attend meetings of the commission unless and until his dissenting views were recorded in the orders of the commission.

Arora broke his silence on Saturday, terming the controversy as “unsavoury and avoidable”.

This has come at a time when all the Chief Electoral Officers throughout the country and their teams are geared for the seventh and the last phase of polling, which is (scheduled to take place) tomorrow (Sunday)...followed by the gigantic task of counting on May 23,” the CEC said in a statement to media.

Eloquence of silence is always difficult, but far more desirable which is for to see the election process through instead of creating ill-timed controversy,” Arora said, tacitly taking a dig at Lavasa.

He said that the Election Commission had a meeting on May 14 last and “unanimously decided” that “some groups” should be “formed to deliberate the issues, which arose in the course of conduct of Lok Sabha elections 2019, just as it was done after the Lok Sabha elections of 2014”. He added that the Model Code of Conduct was among the 13 issues, which had been identified for review by the panels to be constituted by the EC.

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