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EC upset with BJP over Cong link remark

Quraishi writes to Gadkari asking if it’s party's view also, reports Chetan Chauhan.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2012 02:05 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times

The Election Commission is not just upset with law minister Salman Khurshid but also with the BJP for questioning it autonomy.

Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi has shot off a letter to BJP president Nitin Gadkari protesting against an article by party spokesperson Sanjay Kaul claiming that Quraishi had "converted his office into a strategic arm of the Congress".

This was with reference to the commission’s announcement of elections dates in Uttar Pradesh in February and Uttarakhand on January 30, which Kaul claimed would help the Congress to benefit from anti-incumbency factor in these states. BSP is the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh and BJP in Uttarakhand.

“When the EC becomes party to a Government’s election strategy, it not only loses its credibility but it also demeans democracy,” Kaul said in the article on December 30.

Sources said that Quraishi wanted to know from Gadkari whether the views expressed by Kaul were the official views of the party or not. The EC had taken objection to a national political party raising eye brows regarding conduct of a Constitutional body knowing well the constraints in deciding the poll dates.

When contacted Quraishi refused to comment saying the commission has expressed its views to the letter to BJP president.

Even though Gadkari has not responded to the concerns raised by EC, the BJP on Saturday termed the commission as “most independent organization in India” and accused the Congress of trying to “humiliate” it with respect to ban on implementation of 4.5 percent minority quota.

"Congress finds this inconvenient and is trying to belittle the importance of the EC,” BJP leader Balbir Punj said.

Quraishi had earlier written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against Khurshid who had said his (Law) ministry had administrative control over the Constitutional body and had powers to decide on foreign tours of the Election Commissioners.

First Published: Jan 14, 2012 23:56 IST

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