The opposition is making ridiculous charges against the Election Commission, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Friday, rejecting allegations that the BJP is in any way influencing the poll panel into giving Prime Minister Narendra Modi a clean chit for his speeches.

In an interview to PTI, the minister also debunked the opposition’s allegations of horse-trading against Modi for saying 40 MLAs of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress are in touch with him.

The BJP has no reason to prevent somebody from joining it if leaders in other political parties feel suffocated for different reasons, he said.

Singh said opposition parties like the Congress have no evidence to back their allegations.

In fact, they are the ones with a history of misusing Constitutional bodies like the Election Commission and other agencies like the CBI for political gains, Singh, who is minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), said.

He said charges of influencing the Election Commission are being made without any basis.

“They have no evidence to say so. These are the people who can go to any ridiculous extent. They have even gone to the extent of saying that the Balakot air strike was fake. So the people of this country have no trust in what they are saying,” Singh said.

“The EC is an independent body and the BJP accords highest reverence and regard to all constitutional institutions. It is just that the opposition has no issues to point out… they are making such ridiculous charges,” the minister said.

The Congress recently lashed out at the Election Commission for giving Modi a clean chit for his speeches and said the “model code of conduct” has now become the “Modi code of conduct”.

The Election Commission has ruled that Modi’s speech in Wardha, Maharashtra, in which he questioned Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from Wayanad in Kerala as it is dominated by minority community, did not violate the model code.

Singh said opposition parties have gone to the extent of finding fault with electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Ridiculous allegations are being made against the Election Commission, which is known to be one of the best performing poll bodies across the world, he added.

The party, the BJP’s MP from Udhampur said, has never subscribed to any horse-trading.

“But, as I said, in a free democracy, if MLAs, MPs or office bearers of other party feel suffocated and their ascent is being blocked in that party and realise the virtue of being part of the BJP family then this is part of their democratic right, he said.

On the BJP’s post-poll prospects in West Bengal, Singh said his party is going to perform exceedingly well and the result will come as a pleasant surprise for all.

The Communists are nowhere in the picture. The TMC has got exposed. And people in Bengal now want to have true grassroots democracy for which they find the only option before them is the BJP, the minister said.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s comment that the grand old party has fielded candidates who would chew into BJP’s vote share in UP and won’t hurt the gathbandhan is indicative of imminent defeat, he said.

During election time when a prominent leader of national party makes such comments, I think we should read between the lines. This is a comment conceding imminent defeat.

“A winning party or winning leader will never make such a comment. When she says we have put weak candidate that means in other words, without saying so much, she is trying to concede that her party is not going to win. I think Priyanka’s comments amount to conceding Congress’ defeat in the state,” Singh said.