EC acted at Congress’ behest to stop Varanasi rally: Modi

VARANASI (TIP): In a direct allegation on Congressled UPA government, referring it as “dilli mein baithi maa-beti ki sarkar”, Modi accused it of conniving with Election Commission in stopping him from addressing a rally in Varanasi.

Mocking at security as the reason cited for denying him permission, Modi, while hitting out also at “baapbete ki sarkar (read Mulayam-Akhilesh)” along with UPA II government for their inability to protect him, said that when there was no threat to his life at the rally site in Rohaniya, how can there be threat at the place which was just 12km from this rally site.

“Why were they befooling people,” Modi questioned. Addressing an average attendance rally in the outskirts of the Varanasi city in what could be termed as his first speech as BJP’s candidate from Varanasi rather than the party’s star campaigner, Modi said that those who were perturbed with Modi played such a game, fixed a match in such a way that the Election Commission denied him permission to speak in Kashi.

The BJP leaders led by leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely, UP in charge Amit Shah and UP BJP chief Laxmikant Bajpayi and scores of party workers were staging dharna at Lanka Crossing since 11am in the morning to protest against denial of permission by the district election officer. Accusing the district election officer Pranjal Yadav of acting at the behest of Akhilesh-led Samajwadi Party government in the state, both Jaitely and Shah demanded removal of Yadav in order to ensure free and fair election.

The BJP leaders claimed that they had sought permission for a public meeting of Modi at Benia bagh and his participation in Ganga puja. The BJP leaders claimed permission was delayed and added that to protest against the same, the BJP workers resorted to dharna at Lanka Crossing in front of Banaras Hindu University. Lambasting the central government further, Modi said that he had been travelling across the length and breadth of the country for the past 7 months and held rallies in Maoists’ citadel, in Jammu & Kashmir and spoke in the land bomb explosions, probably hinting at his Patna rally where blast took place.

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“Even then I am still alive,”Modi said. “Do I have security threat only in Varanasi,” Modi said and added: “When I m ready to die, why are you worried? If I laid down my life for the country, what else I need.” Modi questioned restriction on his movement and said that it was only 10 days back that Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had said that Modi’s security arrangement was being looked into. Shouldn’t then he get the facility that is provided to any normal Lok Sabha candidate, Modi questioned.

In an indirect reference to Prime Minister, referring to him as “dilli mein baithey shahanshah”, Modi asked to listen carefully as he is silent, but he was bound by the law of the land. “Hence, I will continue to face these harassments but people will not forgive,” Modi said. He added that “dilli ke shanshah” should understand that it kept on harassing him for the past 14 years, even CBI was put behind him, Congress leaders threatened him to send him in jail. Such efforts notwithstanding, Modi said the love of the people for him was still with him, and added that the Congress should understand that people have defeated it and Election Commission would not be able to win election for Congress.

Urging the Election Commission to introspect, Modi said that he doesn’t know what forces it to take such action against him, why he was not allowed to speak. “Even Modi’s maun (silence) is more powerful that his words,” the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate said. Modi said he was not allowed to offer prayers to “maa Ganga,” and added, “Per maa Ganga main aaj nahin to kal aaoonga jaroor, unki gode mein baithoonga bhi.” Modi also spoke about his plans to develop Varanasi, his promise to clean Ganga river just on the lines of Sabarmati river and how he will ensure that Kashi becomes a tourist hub and also exhorted the people for supporting him.

Poll panel rejects BJP’s charge of bias, says not afraid of anyone
NEW DELHI (TIP): Unfazed by the BJP’s all-out attack, the Election Commission on May 8 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”.

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