New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday jumped over a leaked letter of Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, a former union finance secretary, showing the rot in the poll body as he opts out of its full bench meetings in protest of no recording of his dissent on multiple occasions on giving clean chits to PM Modi and BJP President Amit Shah for model code violations.
Lavasa wrote the letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on M ay 4 and since then the EC’s full bench has not met causing the poll body’s dysfunction at a time it is engrossed with the Lok Sabha elections with the counting only five days away.
The Rajasthan-born Lavasa is the Haryana cadre IAS officer of 1980 batch. He was made the election commissioner on retirement last year. Congress chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala asked whether it is an election commission or “election omission,” with a straight question: “Will EC save the embarrassment by recording Lavasa’s dissent notes?”
He tweeted and told a press conference here on Saturday that “erosion of institutional integrity is the hallmark of Modi Govt — SC judges going public, RBI Guv resigning, CBI director getting removed, CVC giving vacuous reports and now dividing Election Commission.”
Surjewala underlined that Rahul Gandhi had accused the Election Commission of a biased and partisan role in this election because of the way it ignores complaints against PM Modi and drew up the election schedule to suit his poll campaign.
In his letter to the CVC, Lavasa mentions futility of his presence at the deliberations on the complaints pertaining to violation of MCC while declaring that he won’’t attend these meetings any more since his repeated reminders to mention the “minority decisions” also in the final order of the Commission.
Lavasa has threatened in the letter to take recourse to other measures aimed at restoring the “lawful functioning” of the Commission in terms of recording minority decisions. CEC Sunil Arora has been able to give clean chit to Modi on every complaint of the Congress on the basis of the provision that the EC will take a decision by a majority if there are differences.
Surjewala said what is happening in the EC is “a day light murder of Constitutional norms, set conventions and propriety.” Omitting the dissent of Lavasa simply because he had asked to issue notice to PM Modi tarnishes the institution integrity of the EC.
He pointed out how EC had thrown in the dustbin as many as 11 complaints on brazen violation of code by Modi and Shah. Only silver lining for Surjewala is “the nation has to count only five more days to overthrow five years of malgovernance of the Modi govt.”
Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel called for a credible inquiry into the issues raised by Lavasa for restoration of the EC’s independent status as the watchdog of world’s largest democracy. CEC says reports about Lavasa recusing himself from meets ‘unsavoury’ to Arora on May 4, Lavasa is learnt to have said he is being forced to stay away from the meets of the full commission since minority decisions are not being recorded.
He is also learnt to have said his participation in the meeting is “meaningless” as his dissent remained unrecorded. Lavasa said his notes on the need for transparency have not been responded to so he has decided to stay away from model code related complaints.