President Kovind lauds EC for free, fair polls

President Kovind lauds EC for free, fair polls

76-day-long LS elections conclude, MCC ceases to be in force

President Ram Nath Kovind

With 76-day-long parliamentary polls coming to its end, President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday lauded the Election Commission for conducting it in a “free and fair” manner.

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and the two other Election Commissioners – Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra – met President at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday and presented to him a copy of the notification issued by the commission containing the names of the 542 members elected to the 17th Lok Sabha.

The Election Commission issued the notification in accordance with Section 73 of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951. This marked the end of the 76-day-long election process, which had commenced on March 10 with the EC announcing the schedule of the seven-phase voting for both the Lok Sabha polls as well as the assembly elections in seven states.

The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) too ceased to be in force with the EC issuing the notification on Saturday.

President congratulated the Chief Election Commissioner and the other Election Commissioners “on successful completion” of the “largest democratic exercise in human history”. He, according to a press release issued by the Election Commission, appreciated the efforts of the Election Commission, its officials and members of its staff, other public officials, who were involved in management and superintendence of the campaign and polling, and police and central and state security personnel, for working tirelessly and diligently to uphold the sanctity of the people’s ballot and successfully completing a free and fair election.

Kovind also commended “hundreds of millions of voters who had participated in the election process in such large numbers”, “entirely in keeping with” Constitution of India and the “deep and unshakeable democratic traditions” of the nation.

Arora, Lavasa and Chandra later went to Mahatma Gandhi's memorial at Rajghat in New Delhi to seek blessings of the Father of the Nation after the conclusion of the elections.

The EC was criticized by the leaders of the Congress and other opposition parties for allegedly being biased towards the Bharatiya Janata Party, particularly when it came to dealing with complaints against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling party president Amit Shah on violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

The poll-panel also had differences within itself with Lavasa disagreeing with Arora and Chandra on giving clean chits to Modi and Shah on all complaints of MCC violation against them. The differences reached a flashpoint in the wake of Lavasa's letter to Arora protesting against his dissenting minority views not being recorded in the decisions taken by the EC or notices or orders issued by it in the cases related to alleged flouting poll-code.