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Poll panel didn't record dissent on clean chit to PM, Shah: Lavasa

New Delhi: After witnessing many first of its kind controversies in topmost institutions such as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Supreme Court (SC) and National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), an open division has now surfaced in the Election Commission of India (ECI) over the issue of giving clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah in matters related to violations of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during political rallies.

The controversy in the EC came to light after Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa reportedly wrote a letter to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora, stating that he was forced to stay away from the meetings of the Full Commission since "minority decisions" were not being recorded. The buzz is that Lavasa has decided to stay away from the meetings related to the MCC due to his dissent on the clean chit given to PM Modi and BJP chief Shah.

Lavasa had expressed his dissent on clean chit to four speeches of Modi and one speech of Shah, sources have affirmed. During the hearings on MCC violations by both the top leaders of the BJP, the Full Commission cleared the 'controversial' speeches of Modi and Shah with a majority ruling 2:1 and the Full Commission reportedly did not find any MCC violation in the speeches.

The EC on May 4 had said that Modi did not violate the MCC in his speech at Gujarat's Patan on April 21 in which he had said that his government had kept Pakistan on its toes to secure the safe release of IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. The EC had also given clean chit to PM Modi for his April 9 speech in which he had urged first-time voters to dedicate their votes in the name of the Balakot air strike heroes and the soldiers killed in the Pulwama attack.

The EC didn't even find anything wrong in Modi's speech at Nanded, Maharashtra, in which he reportedly referred to the Congress as a "sinking Titanic". Among the premier institutions, the first controversy erupted in CBI in October last, after the central probe agency had booked its own Special Director Rakesh Asthana for allegedly accepting bribes of Rs 2 crore to settle a case involving controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

The differences between the judges of the Supreme Court came into the open in January when four senior judges of the top court had spoken against the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra. The incumbent CJI Ranjan Gogoi was one of the four senior judges who had pointed fingers at the functioning of the apex court.

Similarly, two non-governmental members of the National Statistical Commission (NSC) had resigned in January over the 'intentional' delay in the release of NSSO's new data on employment.

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