Launching a scathing attack on the Election Commission, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Tuesday accused the poll body of working on the directions of the Congress and its allies to stop her party BSP from gaining power.
"I would like to say that the EC officials are acting on the directives of the Congress and its allies. The EC under political pressure is trying to stop BSP to gain power despite the party having peoples' support in its favour," Mayawati alleged.
She told reporters, "Both members of EC (Navin Chawla and S Y Quraishi) are active members of the Congress coterie. Under such circumstances, free and fair elections are not possible in the country. I strongly condemn the EC tactics."
Mayawati alleged Quraishi was "biased and is trying to help his political friends in Uttar Pradesh.
"Quraishi has interest in UP as he hails from this state and has number of close relatives here. He is also having good relations with a prominent SP leader and trying to help one of his old friend, who is contesting on a Congress ticket," she alleged.
Mayawati also alleged that transfer of police officers on Monday in Jaunpur where a candidate was found hanging had "proved apprehensions of former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami regarding integrity of his successor Navin Chawla".
"Gopalaswami had written a letter to the President doubting the integrity of Chawla and had alleged that his deputy was working as a Congress agent. The Jaunpur transfers had proved that former CEC's allegations were true," the BSP supremo said.
She said never in the past such serious allegations have been levelled against any CEC. "Under such circumstances, Chawla should have resigned on his own. Unfortunately that did not happen," she said.
Mayawati alleged that Quraishi was indulging in activities which had nothing to do with the poll process.
"Due to his personal interest, Quraishi, instead of visiting states where violence took place in the first phase, is coming to UP again and again and indulging in activities which had nothing to do with the poll process," she alleged.
Mayawati termed as unfortunate the Election Commissioner's remarks warning UP officials of serious action.
She added that "Quraishi has personal animosity against some officials of the state.
"Without making any inquiry, Quraishi asked the officials to mend their ways immediately and threatened them to ruin their career. This is very unfortunate. Keeping in view the attitude of the EC, I am sure that the Lok Sabha elections are neither fair nor free," she said.
Mayawati said the state government has already taken a serious note of the Jaunpur incident and ordered a high-level probe led by ADG Padman Singh.
"The inquiry committee, which submitted its report yesterday, has said that prima facie it was a case of suicide and no political person was involved," she said.
She said: "the EC on the basis of a report submitted by two IAS officials, who do not have any experience of investigating crime, transferred three police officiers including the additional SP. The action taken by the EC was unfortunate."
Such action will demoralise the government machinery which is committed to ensure free, fair and peaceful conduct of the Lok Sabha elections, the UP Chief Minister said.
"In the first phase, no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the state. Under such circumstaces instead of patting our back, the EC had removed three officers only on the basis of baseless complaints, which is not justified," she said.
Mayawati maintained the EC's action will create hurdles in the state government's effort to conduct peaceful and fair elections.
"This is a serious situation for democracy and Congress is solely responsible for this. But I would like to add that the EC's tactics will not help the Congress or any of the opposition parties in the ongoing polls," she said.
Mayawati alleged that Congress leaders were threatening her by misusing CBI.
She also alleged that opposition parties, in a bid to disrupt the poll process, may engineer a communal or casteist riots in the state.
"The opposition parties can also engineer a terror or naxalite attack behind the scene. Any political party can also get me killed during election campaign. The Congress can go to any extent to stop my party," she alleged.
Accusing the Congress of misusing the government machinery, Mayawati alleged that in the last assembly elections similar tactics were adopted to demoralise the BSP workers and the party.
"Congressmen, who are sitting in the EC, joined hands with the SP and created problems for the BSP. I would like to question Chawla and Quraishi that why don't they visit states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Chaittisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, which witnessed heavy violence in the first phase of polling," she said.
She alleged that the opposition parties were not happy with the fact that a Dalit's daughter was the chief minister of UP. "They do not want that a Dalit's daughter to become the Prime Minister," she alleged.
She again advised that EC should avoid transferring officials without any genuine ground or basis.
"In case any complaint is received against any officer, the EC should inform the state government. We will not hesitate in taking stern action against the guilty official," she said, adding "I hope the EC will not give us another chance to complain in future".