EC raids BJP office inVaranasi, ‘closes’ the case within hours
Amid high drama on eve of polls, UP police and Election Commission officials on Sunday raided BJP office here and seized campaign material, drawing vociferous protest from the party, but within hours ‘closed’ the case.
The search was conducted by the flying squad of police personnel and EC authorities amid a ban on all election campaign activities since last evening for on Monday’s polls in the city that has witnessed a highly charged electioneering.
BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is pitted against AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal and Congress’ Ajay Rai among others.
The raid at the main BJP office of Kashi region prompted a major protest and sloganeering by the party supporters. District Magistrate Pranjal Yadav and Special Election Observer Pravin Kumar later told reporters that the Election Commission has decided to close the case as the material was not being used for campaigning.
These items were not being distributed among prospective voters, the officials said. When asked whether such action would be taken against other parties also, Yadav said that the raid was conducted as per information received by a flying squad and action would be taken on all such information. Officials said that the raid was conducted to seize election campaign material as it got the information about such items lying in large quantity in the BJP office.
BJP leaders, however, said that these were unused campaign materials and the party was not indulging into any campaign activities.
The seized items included T-shirts, pamphlets, badges, officials said, while adding that some vehicles were also siezed outside the BJP office. One of the vehicles didn’t have any number. . The party leaders countered this with claims that the unused products were lying there as they were being returned to their respective manufacturers. They claimed that the latest incident further proves the administration and election authorities’ partisan approach against BJP and linked it to the local administration’s denial of permission to Modi’s rally here on May 8.
Yadav, however, said he was not affected by the criticism and defended his denial of permission for Modi rally, saying the decision was taken on the basis of available information. He said that the Modi rally and roadshows by Rahul Gandhi and Kejriwal were different matters and decisions for each one was taken as per relevant information.
In Delhi, an Election Commission order about on Sunday’s incident said, ‘On receipt of a complaint, a flying squad checked the vehicle at the office of the BJP in Varanasi.
‘After obtaining a report from special observer and after finding that no irregularity has taken place, the Commission has directed the release of the material and drop further action.’ Asked about the raid, BJP Spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi rejected the charges and sought CEC’s intervention, alleging that the Uttar Pradesh authorities are continuing to work at the behest of the state government.