Miffed Modi takes on EC
‘Once again, I am saying that in Bihar and Bengal, the same thing will happen: rigging and violence. You have the machinery, why don’t you do your duty? If the EC doesn’t like what I am saying, they can file another case against me,’ added Modi. He was pulled up by the ECI for taking a selfie with the BJP’s election symbol - a lotus – and then he addressed the media after casting his vote at the polling booth in Ahmedabad on 30 April.
As Modi fired salvos at the poll panel, in a setback to Congress which had been trumpeting the Snoopgate controversy, two of its key allies strongly objected to the announcement that a judge would be appointed by the UPA government – now nearing its term end - to investigate the scandal, based on allegations against the Gujarat chief minister. Union minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) head Sharad Pawar, called the prime minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday to express his protest. ‘When the results of the Lok Sabha elections are due in two weeks’ time, where is the need for such an enquiry,’ said senior NCP leader and union minister Praful Patel.
On similar lines, Working President of National Conference (NC) and chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah, tweeted : ‘Was talking to my dad last night & he felt the same way - setting up a commission of inquiry in the dying hours of UPA 2 is just wrong (sic).’
‘If the decision to appoint a commission was taken in Dec it should have been implemented. To appoint a judge 5 months later is wrong,’ he said another tweet. On Friday, law minister Kapil Sibal said by 16 May, when votes would be counted, a judge would be selected to look into whether a young woman architect was spied upon in Gujarat by the state police upon the orders of Modi, who is serving his fourth term as chief minister. The BJP has derided the government’s plans to do so.
On Sunday, the Congress revived the issue, with party spokeswoman Shoba Oza declaring there was ‘no compromise’ on going ahead with the probe as the matter did not involve any political party, but pertains to dignity of women who constitute half of the country’s population. Regarding the resistance from allies, she said, ‘The issue is not a personal business of anyone. How does it matter (that a judge was not appointed so far)? There will be a commission and there will be a judge. Why there should be pressure?’
On Sunday, the party also came out with 10 questions directed at BJP top guns Modi, Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley on Snoopgate controversy, asking them to ‘come clean’ on the illegal surveillance of a young woman allegedly at the beheste of the Gujarat CM.
Observing that ‘right to privacy’ is part of fundamental rights of ‘right to life’ under Article 21 of the Constitution, the Congress asked whether Modi and Shah have the right to conduct surveillance on a young girl as also illegally tap her phones, phones of her friends andacquaintances with ‘complete impunity.’