‘Govt Wants to Ensure Control Over EC in Poll Year’, Says Congress, Shares Advani’s 2012 Letter

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NEW DELHI — Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Friday alleged that the Modi-led Centre wants to ensure control over the Election Commission in a poll year, and shared a letter of veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which said the ‘appointments to constitutional bodies should be done in a bipartisan manner to remove any impression of bias’. 

Ramesh, who is also Congress General Secretary in-charge, in a tweet said, “’There is a rapidly growing opinion in the country which holds that appointments to Constitutional bodies such the Election Commission should be done on a bipartisan basis in order to remove any impression of bias or lack of transparency and fairness.’ No, this isn’t a Modi critic. This is an excerpt from the second para of a letter from Advani to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on June 2, 2012. You can still find the letter on BJP’s website.”

Slamming the government, “To select the CEC and the Election Commissioners, the Committee he proposed comprised the CJI along with leaders of the Opposition from both Houses of Parliament. The CEC Bill brought by the Modi government is not only against what Advani proposed but also overturns a 5-judge Constitutional bench judgment from 2nd March, 2023, which said: ‘In order to allow independence in the functioning of the Election Commission as a Constitutional body, the office of Chief Election Commissioners as well as the Election Commissioners have to be insulated from the executive interference’.”

“In its current form, the CEC Bill will ensure executive interference with its 2:1 dominance of the Committee. This coming from the Modi government in an election year further cements the view that Modi wants to ensure control over the Election Commission,” Ramesh added.

The Centre on Thursday tabled a contentious bill in the Rajya Sabha that seeks to replace the Chief Justice of India with a cabinet minister in the panel for selection of the chief election commissioner and election commissioners, in a move that will allow the government to have more control in the appointments of members of the poll panel.

The Congress and other Opposition parties have been opposing the new CEC Bill. — IANS

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