EC under cloud for 'going soft' on model poll code violators
New Delhi: With the Congress alleging that the Election Commission of India (EC) has taken a 'soft' stand on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar for model code of conduct violations, the credibility of the EC has come under the scanner. Terming the incident "very unfortunate", Congress leaders have questioned the apex poll panel for writing a 'love letter' to let off the poll code violator Yogi with a light rap for his "Modiji ki sena" remark.
Similarly, in the case of model poll code violation by Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, the Congress has demanded the resignation of Singh citing the EC's indictment. "Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh and Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar have no right to remain in office after their indictment by the EC for poll code violations," senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said on Saturday.
Notably, on Friday, the EC had expressed 'displeasure' over the NITI Aayog vice-chairman's remarks against the Congress' proposed minimum income scheme 'NYAY'. The poll panel had on Monday said that Singh's remarks supporting the return of Narendra Modi as prime minister were violative of the model code.
Raising questions over the responsibility of the poll panel, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, "Has the MCC now become 'Modi code of conduct'?" Taking a dig at the EC move of going 'soft' on MCC violators, Surjewala said, "The Uttar Pradesh chief minister 'insults' the Indian Army and the poll body write a 'love letter' to him."
Speaking about NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar, who had criticised the Congress-proposed minimum income scheme NYAY (Nyunatam Aay Yojana), Surjewala said, "NITI Aayog V-C criticises the NYAY scheme and EC says "don't do it again in future". "Given that the EC has preventive powers and not punitive powers, so by exercising it, the poll panel could have recommended suspension of Niti Aayog V-C Rajiv Kumar as was done in the 1995 assembly election in Bihar and in 1998 parliamentary election," an expert said.
"The EC had recommended suspension of the then Gaya district magistrate Rajbala Verma for allegedly mishandling the 1995 Assembly elections. Unfortunately, the Bihar government had removed Verma after the completion of the election process," the expert said, adding that in a similar case, then Gaya DM SM Raju was immediately suspended on charge of laxity in the discharge of electoral responsibilities during the 1998 general elections.