Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer’s response to allegations of links with BJP ahead of polls raises serious questions on poll body’s impartiality


In a sensational confession, Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer has said that decision to hire the BJP IT Cell man to run manage the social media campaign of the Election Commission was taken by the then government headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer

A report by news agency PTI said that Chief Electoral Officer the firm owned by BJP IT Cell man Devang Dave was chosen by the state Directorate General of Information and Public Relations (DGIPR), which is the publicity wing of the state government.

RTI activist Saket Gokhale had revealed how an advertising and social media company owned by Dave was hired by the CEO Maharashtra to issue election-related online ads during the 2019 state assembly polls.

The CEO, according to PTI, said in his interim report to the ECI, “It is misleading and incorrect to suggest that the office of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) has engaged any agency on political considerations. As per the standard practice, electoral awareness campaign is launched through an agency engaged by the Directorate General of Information and Public Relations (DGIPR) of the Maharashtra government.”

Reacting to the sensational confession by the CEO, Gokhale tweeted, “CM @Dev_Fadnavis was surely aware that the firm had links to his own party’s IT cell. Why was Fadnavis trying to interfere in polls by appointing this firm? How did @SpokespersonECI (an independent body) allow the state govt/ruling party to appoint a firm for EC work?”

Last week, Gokhale had posted a series of tweets to reveal the hidden relationship between India’s election commission and the BJP IT Cell ahead of the last year’s Maharashtra elections. Faced with widespread condemnation, the national poll body had sought a detailed report on the stunning revelation.

Former chief minister of Maharashtra and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan too had demanded a thorough probe by the ECI.

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