Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Varanasi

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Ray, May 10, 2014.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Election Commission blinks, appoints special poll observer for Varanasi

    NEW DELHI: Faced with election commissioner HS Brahma's public criticism of the handling of the Varanasi stand-off on Friday, the Election Commission did a U-turn and appointed a special observer to oversee polling in the high-profile constituency where BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi is being challenged by AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal and Congress's Ajay Rai.

    With the appointment of Tamil Nadu chief electoral officer Praveen Kumar as special observer for Varanasi, Pranjal Yadav, district magistrate and returning officer of the constituency, will have to take a back seat in the conduct of polls. Yadav has been criticized by the saffron party for alleged partisanship after he declined permission for a Modi rally in the city.

    Praveen Kumar's appointment marked a dramatic climbdown on the part of the EC, considering that chief election commissioner VS Sampath had publicly defended Yadav and rejected BJP's charge against him.

    'Weak leadership spoiled EC's work'

    The reversal appeared to have been caused by Brahma's public criticism of EC's handling of the dispute with BJP over the conduct of the returning officer. The election commissioner, who had on Thursday publicly interrupted Sampath, stunned many on Friday by telling media that there were lapses by both EC and Yadav in handling the confrontation. He also said the poll panel should have responded to BJP leader Arun Jaitley's letter promptly, adding that the poll watchdog's functioning had been hampered by its "weak leadership" — a not-so-subtle allusion to Sampath.

    Although Brahma later in the evening signed on to a statement issued by the EC projecting a united front, the public outpouring confirmed BJP general secretary Amit Shah's claim earlier in the day that the poll body was divided over how to deal with the Varanasi returning officer.

    In any case, the evidence of a split in EC had come on Thursday itself when Brahma interjected Sampath on the issue of whether Rahul Gandhi had committed a transgression when he entered polling booths in Amethi on May 7. "There is nothing grey about it," Brahma had snapped.

    The appointment of a special observer for Varanasi came after a marathon meeting of the three election commissioners. Although the details could not be ascertained, Brahma's remarks in public, BJP's comment about division in EC and, above all, Praveen Kumar being placed above Yadav in Varanasi suggested that Brahma could have spoken his mind to his colleagues, Sampath and S N A Zaidi.

    The subsequent unfurling of the banner proclaiming unity could be part of the compromise that the three commissioners hammered out. The panel issued a statement, which it claimed had approval of all three commissioners, clarifying that the top leadership worked as a "team" and denying any undue delay on its part in acting on complaints.

    "The commission would like to reaffirm that there is complete coordination among the commissioners and all decisions are taken after due deliberation and in unanimity," it said.

    On Thursday, Sampath had said the Varanasi DM had only acted as per professional advice that cited security and situational concerns.

    However, barely 24 hours later, Brahma went public with his deviation from this stand. At a press interaction organized by the Indian Women's Press Corps, he said the undue delay on part of the Varanasi DM as well as EC in communicating denial of permission for Modi's rally at Benia Bagh was not justified and that BJP should have been told in time to enable the organizers to make alternative arrangements.

    Suggesting that the EC leadership was "weak", Brahma said Sampath should have responded promptly to Jaitley's concerns either himself or asked one of the election commissioners to get in touch with him. "Why should anybody come to the EC, when the issue can be decided by the local thanedar or tehsildar... it means there is some urgency. If somebody approaches you for a genuine reason ... I have to either permit or say no and explain the grounds. I should not make him hang around for 24 hours," he said.

    Talking about the lapses on part of the district magistrate, Brahma said even though his grounds for denial of permission for the Benia Bagh rally may have been justified, he should have conveyed his decision to the BJP leadership promptly.

    Election Commission blinks, appoints special poll observer for Varanasi - The Times of India

    *****************************************************************************************************************

    Event though there would be good reasons not to allow the rally, yet, all seems to be not well.

    Also, Naidu and Modi had FIRs registered against them with alacrity and inspite of definite evidence nothing is being done against Rahul Gandhi.

    This seems rather odd, what ho?
     
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  3. TheIndianPatriot

    TheIndianPatriot New Member

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    I personally feel that '10 Sampath' is hand in gloves with the 'Gandhi' Family. An emergency meeting was conducted the day Modi shows the BJP Lotus symbol and an FIR against him. Here we have the candidate himself not only inside the booth, but also near the EVM and no action taken?! There's a clear bias here on part of the EC.

    I'm not much of a believer in conspiracy theories, but I'm guessing this is all part of a great scheme by the Congress in order to dent the BJP vote share; like the deletion of 6 lac voter names in Maharashtra, the booth rigging and capturing in UP, WB, Amethi.

    Well, 6 more days to go to find out if the Congress was successful in its scheme.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2014
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  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    I watched Bhrama's talk with TimesNow.

    He was too frank, but then the NE chaps are always very brutally frank.

    He reminded me of Brig Sailo, a Mizo and later CM Mizoram, hectoring some officers at a Conference stating that 'you plainsmen can never speak plain language' and then he went on to brutally berate all with facts of omission and so on.

    All were left red faced and were surprised that anyone could so openly state things and that too with names of defaulters irrespective of rank!
     
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    BJP attacks, EC stands ground on Varanasi DM

    VARANASI/NEW DELHI: The face-off between the Election Commission and the BJP intensified on Thursday with chief election commissioner V Sampath backing Varanasi returning officer Pranjal Yadav's decision to not allow Narendra Modi to hold a public meeting in Beniabagh in the heart of the city.

    The EC strongly rebutted charges of "timidity" leveled against it by BJP leaders led by Arun Jaitley, sitting on dharna in Varanasi. It stated it had enough powers under the Constitution to perform its duties with forthrightness and boldness. Objecting to the "harsh" and "sweeping" statements made about the EC's neutrality, the CEC said the poll panel deplored attempts by political parties to cast aspersions on constitutional bodies.

    Sampath defended the Varanasi district magistrate, saying he had rightly gone by professional advice that cited security and suitability concerns. However, even as he gave an all-clear to the Varanasi DM over not allowing Modi's rally, he added there were some other complaints against the officer by the BJP that would be looked into.

    "We would like to assure you the commission will be very fair in treating not only the officer but also complaints against him," he said. EC sources said the jury was still out on the neutrality of the returning officer and the commission could review the complaints against him at its Friday meeting and decide on whether he needs to be replaced. Another option is to ask him to go on leave until the polling is over.

    Reacting strongly, BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi said "denying permission to a candidate for campaigning means denying democracy. It's discrimination." Attacking the returning officer for his "totally partisan" approach under pressure of the UP government, Naidu added, "They're trying to prevent a candidate from reaching out to the electorate. It's against the constitutional spirit. It's against the democratic spirit. It's against the code of conduct prescribed by the EC."

    Asking the EC to act against the officer, Naidu said not doing so "would send the wrong message to not just the country but across the world... We hope the EC with appellate authority will intervene and see to it that a wrong is set right."

    Refuting the charge that permission was granted for the BJP's Beniabagh rally on May 6 and money collected, followed by abrupt rescinding of the permission on May 7, the CEC clarified that whenever an application seeking permission for a rally is made, some money is collected.

    "Collection of this money doesn't mean permission is granted," he said. Also, he reminded that an alternative site was sought thereafter, though the BJP later decided that they wanted the rally at the original site.

    Throughout the day in Varanasi, BJP workers held protests at BHU's gate even as the party's PM candidate Narendra Modi addressed a rally at Jagatpur Degree College 20km away in Rohania. Senior BJP leaders Amit Shah, Arun Jaitley, Anant Kumar, Laxmikant Bajpayi and scores of workers sat on a dharna near the statue of Madan Mohan Malaviya braving 39 degrees heat for over two hours.

    Failing to bear the heat, Jaitley shifted under the shade of a nearby shop. The entire area had turned into a saffron melee raising anti-administration slogans. BJP workers also blackened the pictures of the DM and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to give vent to their anger and frustration.

    Heavy deployment of police force and para-military forces did not prevent the BJP workers from damaging the jeep of TMC candidate Indira Tiwari, who was passing through the area for campaigning. Tiwari alleged BJP men were targeting her. In another incident, two AAP volunteers were allegedly beaten up by BJP supporters. Both the matters were reported to police.

    "The Varanasi administration is working on the directions of the SP-led state government," said Shah. Jaitley asked when rallies were allowed in violence-prone states like Kashmir and Maoist hotbeds, why were they being disallowed in Varanasi.

    Modi was to address two election rallies at Rohania and Beniabagh on Thursday. Permission was also sought for performing Ganga Aarti and holding a meeting with about 150 eminent citizens in the banquet hall of a hotel in Cantonment. Except the rally at Rohania, permission was refused for all other programmes.
    BJP attacks, EC stands ground on Varanasi DM - The Times of India
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    EC sends notice to Rahul Gandhi over hate speech against Narendra Modi

    New Delhi: The Election Commission on Friday issued a show cause notice to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for his alleged remarks that 22,000 people will be killed if BJP comes to power.

    According to the notice, addressing an election rally in Solan, Himachal Pradesh on May 1, Rahul had reportedly said: "People from Japan ask me...They say we are scared over one issue. We will help you, we will prepare roads. But we are scared whether there will be peace...They say whether people of India will fight with each other or not?

    This fear is there in our lives as well. If there is BJP, there will be violence. If there is BJP, 22,000 people will die, because they spread anger...This question was never raised before."

    The notice further said, "The Commission is, prima facie, of the opinion that by making the...Statement you (Rahul) have violated...Provisions of the Model Code of Conduct."

    The EC has asked Rahul to submit his response by May 12, the last day of polling during the ongoing polls.

    The BJP had moved the EC against Gandhi for his remarks. It had provided the Commission with CD of his speech and newspaper clippings.

    The EC reminded Gandhi of the provision in the Model Code which states that no party or candidate would indulge in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred.

    The show cause notice also referred to the provision which refrains parties and candidates making distorted or unverified allegations and limit their criticism to policies and programmes of rival parties.

    EC sends notice to Rahul Gandhi over hate speech against Narendra Modi

    **************************************

    Still silent over gross violation by Gandhi, the candidate, who was photographed next the EVM machine alongside a person.

    Extraordinary and not very impartial it appears.
     
  7. TheIndianPatriot

    TheIndianPatriot New Member

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    Former Andhra CM YS Rajasekhara Reddy facilitated VS Sampath's entry into Election Commission: Wikileaks

    The appointment of former power secretary V.S. Sampath as an election commissioner in 2009 had raised eyebrows, and his close ties with the then Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy were the subject of a US diplomatic cable later made public by WikiLeaks.
    The cable on Sampath's appointment read thus: "Many believe that Reddy fast-tracked Sampath's nomination through the UPA bureaucracy and see in it a sign of the Andhra Chief Minister's growing influence in the party".

    A senior IAS officer of the Andhra Pradesh cadre, Sampath was moved to the Election Commission at the height of a controversy emanating from the then Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami's recommendation to the Supreme Court that Navin Chawla, an election commissioner at the time, be removed from the poll panel. Chawla was accused of being close to the Congress.

    The diplomatic cable described Sampath's appointment as a "great hope for restoring the credibility of the commission". It was also mentioned that Sampath, who was then 59, was "carefully chosen in 2009" as he had the requisite age to see through the general elections of 2014.

    The cable highlighted that Sampath had the reputation of being honest and decisive though he was perceived to be pro-Congress. The reference to Sampath in WikiLeaks has returned to haunt the officer right in the midst of his standoff with the BJP, which staged a massive protest against the Varanasi returning officer's refusal to allow Narendra Modi to hold a public meeting in the city's Beniyabag ground.

    Sampath is the second Chief Election Commissioner appointed by the UPA government to be accused by the Opposition as being biased. The diplomatic cable also pointed to reports of infighting and differences in the Election Commission's top echelons since Chawla's (Sampath's predecessor) appointment as an election commissioner in 2005.
    "Chawla has been a political target of the BJP for over three decades. As a young private secretary during Indira Gandhi's 1975-77 state of Emergency, Chawla oversaw the arrests of political opposition, many of whom are BJP leaders today," said the cable.

    The cable also talked about flaws in the appointment of election commissioners, of whom the EC has two, discussing how they are selected by the incumbent government unlike the Central Information Commissioner and the Central Vigilance Commissioner, who are picked by a broader panel comprising the Prime Minister, leader of opposition and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. "Many have argued that biased EC selection process could threaten the credibility of the commission and elections it overseas," the cable said.
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    Sampath or the EC has not actually covered itself with glory this election.

    Arun Jaitley Slams Election Commission, Says 'Timid Men Can Dwarf High Offices'

    http://www.ndtv.com/news/images/story_page/Arun_Jaitley_360.jpg

    Amid an ongoing bitter confrontation between the BJP and the Election Commission over permission for three Narendra Modi events in Varanasi, senior party leader Arun Jaitley today sharpened his attack on the panel and said "timid men can dwarf high offices." (Modi Apologises to 'Ganga Maa', questions Election Commission's 'Neutrality')

    Here's the full text of what he said:

    The Campaign Diary - 8th May,2014

    I cannot conceal my disappointment with the Election Commission. Men in constitutional offices need to be bolder. Timid men can dwarf high offices.

    The Election Commission scrutinizes us all the time. They are extremely vigilant in tackling the side shows in the elections. They are concerned with what adjectives are used by whom. But when it comes to preventing booth capturing which has reappeared after a decade in elections 2014 they are out of their depth.

    By condoning the Returning Officer's stand on 'No-Modi rally' in Varanasi city the Election Commission has used the security card to prevent Narendra Modi's right to campaign in his constituency. If you can't ensure security, don't hold the polls in the country. But if you do hold the polls please provide a level playing field. You cannot deny the candidate the right to campaign. Rahul Gandhi can have a road show in Varanasi but Narendra Modi cannot have a rally. The security card is selectively used.

    THE FALSEHOOD OF THE RETURNING OFFICER

    Of all the permissions given to us by the Returning Officer, two are for the landing of the helicopter. How very fair. One helicopter has been allowed to land twice - once in the rural area and once in the city.
    I withdrew all applications at 20:10 hours yesterday since it is impossible to organize a function the next day if a "mid night" permission comes. He allowed a prayer permission after 48 hours of struggle and an oral refusal earlier.

    To meet 150 eminent citizens at a hotel banquet hall he earlier said that Shri Modi cannot be allowed to drive into the city. Two hours after I withdrew all applications, he announced to the media that he was allowing Shri Modi to meet 150 people. How very liberal. These are all the permissions with regard to the campaigning in the city. Modi's entire campaign in Varanasi city is restricted to a prayer at the Ganga Ghat and meeting 150 persons in a hotel. Additionally there are two helicopter landings.

    Can he produce any document that the BJP had agreed to an alternate site which is much smaller? No.

    If the Election Commission chooses to believe such a Returning Officer and feels that this is not a denial of opportunity to campaign, my right to Satyragrah begins. The Election Commission now condones the guilt of the Returning Officer.

    My advice to the Election Commission is - don't look helpless. Don't merely rely on the Returning Officer and officials of the Uttar Pradesh Government. They are nominees of the people who want to prevent Modi. There is more to a campaign than a prayer and meeting 150 people.

    Arun Jaitley Slams Election Commission, Says 'Timid Men Can Dwarf High Offices' | NDTV.com
     
  9. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    What surprises me that in spite of so called selection process and examinations etc, these IAS officers are cheaply buyable and deeply prejudices even on caste / creed lines like Yadav in Varanasi...

    That speaks very low of a class called IAS.... fifty per cent of them being reservationists !! That is then IAS who I think are divided between Mayawati, Yadav and Congress ...... and many others. So be aware, before you encounter an IAS or IPS find out his caste and creed .....
     
  10. laughingbuddha

    laughingbuddha Regular Member

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    6 hrs to file FIR on Modi for poll code violation. Still no action on Rahul for breach during Amethi polls. Even Brahma had stated on Times Now that action should be be taken by 5 pm yesterday. Nada!
     
  11. laughingbuddha

    laughingbuddha Regular Member

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    BTW Rahul's road show going through same area where Modi's rally was not permitted.
    Looking forward to EC's take on this.
    EC's credibility is destroyed. Sampath a cong stooge. A YSR appointee.
     
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  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    Rahul is God's own Gonads with the Sun shining out of his posterior.

    Notice how very deferential the media is towards his violating all rules by entering and checking the EVM with another man alongside. Nothing from the EC or from the media.

    You can't touch the Gandhis so far!

    Go gung ho for anybody, but dare you go for Vadra the rags to riches man in the shortest possible time!

    If you do, that is blasphemy.

    Ask the poor oaf, Khemka.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2014
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  13. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    I’m a Brahmin & Congress’s general secretary: Rahul Gandhi to party
    I’m a Brahmin & Congress’s general secretary: Rahul Gandhi to party - The Times of India

    Since when has a Parsi offspring, taking that Feroz Gandhi was a Parsi (which is contested), Brhamin?

    To be correct, unless both the parents are Parsis, one cannot be a Parsi.

    He thus cannot be anything, but a half way home (neither here nor there) since one cannot take the caste of the Mother in Hinduism.
     
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  14. Hari Sud

    Hari Sud Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    Rahul making fool of people again by calling himself as Brahmin.
     
  15. laughingbuddha

    laughingbuddha Regular Member

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    So, son of a half parsi and an italian makes him a brahmin? This is complicated :O
     
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  16. ladder

    ladder Senior Member Senior Member

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  17. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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  18. ladder

    ladder Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    The problem with the analogy is that, what was he on lookout for in the enclosure that has a EVM that is not working? Intense gazing by the candidate will not make work, will it? Unless this malfunctioning EVM provided him with a opportunity to see for the first time, what a EVM looks like.
     
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  19. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    There is no doubt that Rahul Gandhi violated the Model Code of Conduct.

    Mulayam and his bureaucrats are all shaking in their pants over Modi.

    And Mulayam wants to remain in the good books of the Gandhis.

    The EC had to rely on Mulayam's man, Alopk Tiwari, the additional CEO.

    Here is the report

     
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  20. ladder

    ladder Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    Thanks for Sharing Sir.

    I feel if need be, officials would have had said, there was no EVM in the enclosure and RG was looking a bottomless pit.

    Ironically, the same pit in which accountability of officials and politicians has been thrown into, for decades if not centuries.
     
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  21. Compersion

    Compersion Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: Election Commission blinks appoints special poll observer for Vara

    Is what rahul did with evm arrogance - is it poor judgement. Arrogance knowing he would get away with it. Poor judgement not realising what he was doing.

    Not sure if its related but his look and speaking when shown on television on the day he went into the evm areas looked like he was sleepy and not energetic perhaps subdued (loss of concentration) ... This is a subjective observation but it was much different to what normally is shown. Perhaps it was the early morning flight and work load.

    Are others not going after rahul acquiescence about who he really is ...
     

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