Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, who expressed his dissent on the Election Commission’s decision to give a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has said that he’s been skipping the EC meetings on Model Code of Conduct violations.
He’s reportedly written to the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora stating that there was no merit in his attendance if his dissent was never recorded in the final order of the Election Commission.
It was widely reported that the upright former IAS officer had dissented on at least four occasions when Arora and the other Election Commissioner decided to give Modi clean chits for Model Code of Conduct violations.
On 1 May, the Election Commission had given Modi a clean chit to Modi on complaints of violation of the Model Code of Conduct during his election speech in Latur in Maharashtra. The same day, the national poll body ruled that Modi did not violate any rules with his his speech made in Maharashtra’s Wardha, where he was seen provoking Hindus against the Congress at an election rally on 1 April.
On 3 May, the EC had given another clean to Modi on complaints of poll code violation. This was in the case of his speech in Rajasthan’s Barmer, where he had said that India was no longer scared of Pakistan and the country’s nuclear arsenal was not meant for Diwali celebrations. On 4 May, the EC said that Modi did not violate the model code in his speech in Gujarat’s Patan on 21 April. The Prime Minister had said that his government kept Pakistan on its toes to secure the safe release of IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the Election Commission had become a poodle of Narendra Modi. “This is clear from Ashok Lavasa ji’s letter that the CEC and his associate did not want to record his dissent note on clean chits to Amit Shah and Narendra Modi,” Surjewala was quoted by ANI.
Reacting to Lavasa’s extraordinary letter, CEC Arora, whose integrity has come under huge scanner, issued a statement saying that the three ‘members of EC are not expected to be template or clones of each other, there have been so many times in the past when there has been a vast diversion of views as it can, and should be.’
He wrote, “But the same largely remained within confines of ECI after demission of office unless appearing much later in a book written by the concerned ECs/CECs. I personally never shied away from a public debate whenever required but there is time for everything.”