Press Trust of india

EC completely biased on matters related to opposition: Rahul

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New Delhi, May 4 :  In a scathing criticism of the Election Commission (EC), Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said when it comes to matters related to the opposition, the poll watchdog is "completely biased".

His remarks come in the wake of clean chits given by the EC to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah on various complaints of Model Code of Conduct violations.

Asked about questions being raised over the EC's impartiality, Gandhi, at a press conference here, said, "When it comes to issues of the BJP, the EC is absolutely on the straight line, when it comes to the opposition's issues, it is completely biased."

The working style of Modi, the ruling BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is to put pressure on institutions, he alleged.

"This is evident everywhere -- SC, EC, Planning Commission, RBI. That is their approach. We do not expect that the EC will not be affected by that pressure," Gandhi said.

However, he asserted that the EC has to commit to its responsibility and carry it out.

"All this institutional capture that is taking place and all the negative effects of it will have consequences in the future. We are not going to allow Indian institutions to be disturbed, controlled, crushed and anybody who colludes, anybody who falls to this pressure, is committing a crime," the Congress chief said.

The EC concluded on Friday that Modi did not violate the model code or its advisory on the armed forces in his campaign speech in Varanasi.

The poll panel also found nothing wrong in the prime minister's comments made in Maharashtra's Nanded, where he reportedly dubbed the Congress as a "sinking Titanic".

With this, the EC has decided on five complaints against Modi and gave him a clean chit in all the matters.

The poll watchdog has also given a clean chit to Shah over his speeches at Maharashtra's Nagpur and West Bengal's Nadia.

Citing his speech at Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh on April 23, the commission had, on May 1, issued a show-cause notice to Gandhi highlighting a provision of the Model Code of Conduct that barred "unverified" allegations against political opponents.

Earlier, the EC had held that Gandhi had not violated the Model Code of Conduct during another campaign speech in Madhya Pradesh.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said the dissenting view given by one of the two election commissioners in the clean chit given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over two of his campaign speeches in Maharashtra means that "the fear of Modi-Shah" is finally weakening.

One of the election commissioners, according to sources, gave a dissenting view in the Election Commission's (EC) decision to give a clean chit to Modi as regards his speech at Wardha on April 1, where he attacked Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for contesting from the minority-dominated Wayanad seat in Kerala, and his appeal to first-time voters by invoking the Balakot airstrike and the CRPF jawans killed in the Pulwama terror attack in Latur on April 9.

"With one member of the EC finding fault with Modi-Shah speeches and dissenting from the other two, the Election Commission is finally showing some signs of life!," Chidambaram said in a series of tweets.

"Closer to May 6, 12 and 19, the Election Commission may actually reprimand Mr Modi and Mr Shah. That means the fear of Modi-Shah is finally weakening. I hope other institutions and the media will also shed the fear of Modi-Shah and assert their independence," the former Union finance minister said.

The "full commission", which takes such decisions, comprises Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and fellow election commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra.

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