New Delhi: BJP today justified its attack on the Election Commission over denial of permission to Narendra Modi’s rally in Varanasi, saying constitutional institutions have no immunity from criticism.

“Do constitutional institutions have an immunity from criticism. I do not subscribe to the view that merely because an institution is created by the Constitution, it cannot be criticised,” BJP leader Arun Jaitley said on his blog.

His remarks came a day after Modi launched an all-out war on the poll panel accusing it of working “under pressure” and showing bias against him.

The BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, accompanied by senior party leaders, also took out a roadshow in the temple city yesterday defying prohibitory orders over the denial of permission to him to hold a rally.

Jaitley said that he was convinced that the decision against allowing Modi to hold a rally in his constituency was both “unfair and a denial of right to campaign”.

“Both the Returning Officer and the Election Commission have been rightly criticized for this blunder so that in future their successors do not fall into the same error. I do not subscribe to a vague notion of self-censorship based on an inter-institutional courtesy.

“My advice to the Returning Officer is that by denying the right to hold a rally he cannot restrict Modi’s campaign. Yesterday’s events proved that unfairness of the Returning Officer was given a fitting reply by the people of Varanasi,”he said.

Unfazed by BJP’s all-out attack, the poll panel had yesterday rejected the accusation of bias and made it clear that it was “not afraid of anyone, any political party or any entity” in doing its job.

Hitting back at Congress for its “fake OBC” barb against
Modi, the party said his OBC status is a major cause of worry for Congress.

Jaitley said that though Modi has never made caste as his identity and his appeal cuts across castes and communities, the Congress worry is apparent as the ruling dynasty of the Congress cannot digest defeat at the hands of a commoner.

Rebutting Congress spokesman Shaktisinh Gohil’s claim that Modi got ‘Modh Ghanchi’ community to which belongs, included in the OBC list a year after he became Chief Minister in September 2001, he said the community was added to the OBC category in Gujarat on July 25, 1994 by the Congress party government headed by Chhabildas Mehta and the Mandal Commission list by the Centre on April 4, 2000.

Holding that Congress had earlier made Modi’s “humble origin” as a tea vendor into an issue but the move backfired, he asked does Congress believe that every time a caste is added to the OBC list it is a sin (paap)?

Another party leaader M Venkaiah Naidu also attacked Congress for targeting Modi.

“We are fighting elections on the issue of development and good governance and our performance during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime…. We are contesting elections on good job done by BJP-ruled governments of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa and Punjab.

“Congress has nothing to share. That is why it is attacking BJP and Modi,” Naidu said.

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