If security can’t be ensured, polls shouldn’t be held: Jaitley to EC
Expressing ‘disappointment’ with the Election Commission’s stand on Narendra Modi’s rally in Varanasi, BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that polls should not be conducted in the country if security cannot be ensured.
‘By condoning the returning officer’s stand on ‘No-Modi rally’ in Varanasi city, the Election Commission has used the security card to prevent Narendra Modi’s right to campaign in his constituency. If you can’t ensure security, don’t hold the polls in the country,’ Jaitley wrote in his blog.
His comments follow the poll panel denying permission to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial nominee to hold rallies in Varanasi, stating security concerns.
‘I cannot conceal my disappointment with the Election Commission. Men in constitutional offices need to be bolder. Timid men can dwarf high offices,’ Jaitley added.
He, however, added that if polls are held, a ‘level playing field’ should be provided.
‘But if you do hold the polls please provide a level playing field. You cannot deny the candidate the right to campaign. Rahul Gandhi can have a road show in Varanasi but Narendra Modi cannot have a rally. The security card is selectively used,’ he said.
Jaitley added that his right to ‘satyragraha’ (protest for the truth) begins if the poll panel chooses to believe the returning officer and ‘feels that this is not a denial of opportunity to campaign’.
Giving out advice to the Election Commission, Jaitley said: ‘Don’t look helpless. Don’t merely rely on the returning officer and officials of the Uttar Pradesh government. They are a nominees of the people who want to prevent Modi. There is more to a campaign than a prayer and meeting 150 people.’