A group 66 former senior bureaucrats has written to President Ram Nath Kovind expressing their disgust over the questionable functioning of the Election Commission of India. The petitioners that included Former Delhi LG Najeeb Jung, Retired IPS officer Vappala Balachandran, former special secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, former foreign secretary and national security adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon, former Planning Commission secretary N C Saxena and super cop Julio Ribeiro, have asked President Kovind to intervene to ensure free and fair elections.
The petition by former civil servants also highlighted instances of gross violations by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and how the Election Commission chose to look the other way by not taking action against him.
The five-page letter highlighted several instances where violations by Modi and those favouring the BJP were ignored by the Election Commission. It said that the ECI had failed to stop the Modi biopic from being released even though this ‘represents a backdoor effort to garner free publicity’ for him and his party.The group of 66 bureaucrats also slammed the ECI for not stopping another web series made on Modi, which will be aired soon on Eros Now. It mocked the national poll body for its ticking the box exercise by simply ‘going through the motions of calling for detail.’
They also called out the EC’s ‘lethargy’ on the launch of the NaMo TV on 31 March despite not receiving any approval from the Information and Broadcasting ministry. They reminded the EC of Modi’s speech made in Wardha in Maharashtra, where he was seen provoking Hindus while seeking votes.
On 6 April, Modi had made a similar speech in Nanded, but the ECI merely sought a report from the Chief Electoral Officer. Modi’s latest speech seeking votes in the name of the Balakot air strikes and the Pulwama terror attack too violated the EC guidelines, but the national poll body once again ignored the violation.
Among other violations of Model Code of Conduct and the EC’s refusal to act against them were Yogi Adityanath’s Modi ji ki sena comments. The petition also questioned the EC’s recent decision to transfer three top police officers and the Chief Secretary in Andhra Pradesh and four top police officers in West Bengal, adding that why no such steps were taken in Tamil Nadu, where the Director General of Police (DGP) is reportedly under investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Gutkha scam case.