CEC VS Sampath denies any differences with Election Commission

V S Sampath

New Delhi, May 10: Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath Saturday denied any differences within the poll panel, including on the decision of not recalling the returning officer of Varanasi as demanded by the BJP. “Firstly, there are no differences in the EC. I would like to mention the procedure followed in transacting business in the commission. This is a three-member commission in which all three members enjoy equal power in decision-making,” Sampath said in an interview to CNN-IBN news channel.

Questioned on the need of sending a special observer to Varanasi within a day of the decision of not recalling the district magistrate, the CEC said: “They are actually two different things.” “The decision of the commission was… we went into all the relevant facts… we found that the district magistrate had taken the decision on rational grounds with relevant circumstances,” he asserted.

On Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi being spotted checking an electronic voting machine (EVM) during polling in Amethi, Sampath said: “This is exactly what we had to find out whether the candidate was standing in polling compound while the polling was on. “We have got the report not only from the DM, we got it further verified by sending a team of senior officers from the CEO’s office… they have gone and verified that on that day at the time of his visit, the EVM was not functioning.”

“There is no case against Rahul Gandhi. Not only that, this was confirmed to them even by the photographer who had taken that picture and published it,” he added. The CEC refuted the Bharatiya Janata Party’s allegations that it was biased, saying that such charges against the poll panel were not new.

“This is not the first time that these kinds of allegations are being made against the EC,” he said. Sampath also denied charges that the panel had favoured the Congress by allowing Rahul Gandhi to hold a roadshow where BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Modi had been barred.