New Delhi: Unfazed by BJP’s all-out attack, the Election Commission today rejected its accusations of bias in denying permission to Narendra Modi’s rally in Varanasi and made it clear that it was “not afraid of anyone, any political party or any entity” in doing its job.
At a hurriedly-called press conference here, Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath strongly defended the action of Varanasi Returning Officer Pranjal Yadav, saying his decision was based on “professional advice” and ruled out his removal as demanded by the BJP.
Flanked by other two Election Commissioners, Sampath expressed disappointment over BJP’s attack, saying “certain harsh and sweeping statements” were made and political parties to “show greater maturity”.
Sampath said the Returning Office, who is the District Magistrate of Varanasi, had denied permission to the rally proposed to be held today on the “basis of professional advice” and there was no need for the EC to “deviate” from it.
“When the security and suitability issues are involved, the Election Commission naturally will go by the professional advice taken at the district level,” the CEC said responding to attacks by BJP which staged protests here and in Varanasi.
“The competent local authority, the DM and his team, took the decision taking into consideration relevant professional advice on security,” he said.
“There is no reason to deviate from the decision taken at the district level, specially when the issue of life and security are concerned,” Sampath said.
Effectively rejecting BJP’s demand for removal of the DM who was accused of being partisan, he said, “as of today, we do not find the action faultworthy”.
He asserted that the Commission is “not afraid of anyone, any political party or any entity in discharging its duties”.