EC justifies denial of permission to Modi's rally
The Election Commission (EC) on Friday stood by its statement that there was security reason behind the decision to cancel Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's rally in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
"We had specific inputs that there was threat to Narendra Modi's rally," Election Commissioner HS Brahma said during an interaction with Indian Women Press Corps in New Delhi.
Brahma, however, said that poll officials at the ground level should take prompt decisions and convey it to the concerned political parties.
After being accused of lacking neutrality, the Commission on Thursday said it is not afraid of any one or political party and that the Commission discharged its duties impartially.
"The Commission is not afraid of any entity or political party, " Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath said while addressing a press conference.
"We are disappointed that a national party should embark on a protest against the EC," Sampath said urging the leaders of the parties to display greater maturity when referring to the EC.
He said that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was denied to hold the rally due to security reasons.
"Political parties must understand that issues relating to permission for campaign purposes should be asked for with due notice. Over 3,000 public meetings have been permitted by the EC in these elections. Competent local authorities of Varanasi, for security reasons, were unable to give permission for Modi's public meeting in Benia Bagh. We are bound to go by professional advice from the local administration. It cannot be ignored," Sampath said.
Sampath also refuted the BJP's charges that there was a delay on part of the EC to grant permission for Modi's Ganga Aarti and meeting in Varanasi.
"The permissions were accorded within hours of the requests," he said.
He said the Commission remained zealous about maintaining its neutrality in conducting elections and asserted that it has followed neutrality and impartiality while discharging its functions.
(Posted on 09-05-2014)