Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday alleged that the Election Commission’s “capitulation” before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is obvious and the poll watchdog is not feared and respected anymore.
Training his guns on the poll body on the last day of polling for the Lok Sabha elections, he listed a host of examples, including Modi’s visit to Kedarnath in Uttarakhand, to accuse the EC of being biased towards the PM.
“From Electoral Bonds & EVMs to manipulating the election schedule, NaMo TV, ‘Modi’s Army’ & now the drama in Kedarnath; the Election Commission’s capitulation before Mr Modi & his gang is obvious to all Indians,” Gandhi tweeted.
“The EC used to be feared and respected. Not anymore,” he said.
The Congress chief’s tweet came a day after his party hit out at the poll panel after Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa reportedly wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner that he will be recusing himself from EC meetings as his dissent was not being recorded on clearances given by the poll panel to the PM over alleged poll code violations.
While the EC had concluded that NaMo TV, sponsored by the BJP, can’t display ‘election matter’ during the poll silence period, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had described the Indian Army as “Modiji ke sena” (Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Army).
The Congress party and Gandhi have been accusing the EC of being “biased” and “partial”.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram also hit out at the EC, alleging that the poll panel has surrendered its independence.
“Our charge had been that the EC was sleeping on the job. Now, we can go further and say that the EC completely surrendered its independence and authority. Shame!” he said on Twitter.
“Polling is over. Now we can say that the ‘pilgrimage’ of the PM in the last two days is an unacceptable use of religion and religious symbols to influence the voting,” he said.
Modi was in Uttarakhand for two days and offered prayers at the Kedarnath and Badrinath temples, which opposition parties termed a much-publicised trip and alleged poll code violation.
Demanding a probe into charges made by Lavasa, the Congress on Saturday alleged that eroding institutional integrity has been the hallmark of the Modi government and asked whether the poll panel has become Election Omission and a puppet in the PM’s hands.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had asked whether the EC will save itself more embarrassment by recording Lavasa’s dissent notes, as he accused PM Modi of “muzzling” democratic institutions.