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Tuesday 18 February 2020

CEC Sunil Arora makes light of letter from Ashok Lavasa

While EC Ashok Lavasa had written his minority view was not being recorded, CEC Sunil Arora says this is done only in court cases

New Delhi: A new controversy has arisen on the report of Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa’s refusal to join the meetings on the model code of conduct. Lavasa has written to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora saying he would like to abstain from these meetings.

According to media reports, Lavasa had written to CEC Arora on 4 May that his involvement in the meetings had become “meaningless”. “I am being forced to stay away from the meetings of the full commission since minority decisions are not being recorded. My participation in the deliberations of the Commission becomes meaningless since my minority decisions go unrecorded.”

Lavasa had added, “I might consider taking recourse to other measures aimed at restoring the lawful functioning of the commission in terms of recording minority decisions.” He wrote. “My various notes on the need for transparency in the recording and disclosure of all decisions including the minority view have gone unheeded, forcing me to withdraw from participating in the deliberations on the complaints.”

However, after the news of the letter of Lavasa, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora has issued a statement describing the reports as an absurd controversy.

Arora said, “The three members of the Election Commission are not expected to be templates or clones of each other. There have been so many times in the past when there has been a vast diversion of views as it can, and should be.”

Arora said through a printed statement, “It needs to be clarified categorically and unambiguously that this is purely an internal matter of ECI and as such any speculation, innuendoes and insinuations in this regard should be eschewed. It also needs to be mentioned that a meeting had already been scheduled on Tuesday, i.e., 21.5.2019 to discuss this and related matters.”

The Congress, in the meantime, has raised questions on the institutional independence of the Election Commission. Party spokesman Randeep S Surjewala said, “The Election Commission has become a puppet of Modi.”

It is clear from Lavasa’s letter that his ideas about Modi and Amit Shah are not being recorded.”

Letter of Lavasa?

According to the chief election commissioner, a minority opinion is recorded only in decisions taken during semi-legal proceedings, and complaints of violation of the model code of conduct.

It is being said that Lavasa did not agree to the clean chit given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah against the complaint that they had violated the model code of conduct.

Lavasa had stopped going to meetings related to the code of conduct for a month now.

The commission gave a clean chit to PM Modi in six cases of the violation of the model code of conduct.

The three members of the Election Commission include Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and two other commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra.

After the end of the election campaign for the last phase, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had accused the commission of fixing the dates of voting according to PM Modi’s campaign.

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