The Congress party run-in with the Election Commission of India (ECI) is a well rehearsed act employed in every election whether it’s a state assembly election or the Lok Sabha elections. The recent collision or collusion between Salman Khurshid and Beni Prasad Verma of the Congress with the ECI on the Muslim reservation issue is one such drama played out for the galleries.
On one hand it is to show to its vote bank that Congress is fighting for their rights and is being attacked for this by the opposition parties primarily the BJP. Secondly to obfuscate the obvious that the ECI is staffed by Congress party sympathizers (see image).
As we all know nothing came out of the storm that was kicked up due to the utterances of none less than the country’s Law Minister Salman Khurshid and Beni Prasad Verma. Except a mild rebuke by the ECI for breaking the model code of conduct. But in the process Congress managed to achieve its goals, to polarise voters on religious lines and also send out a indirect message that the ECI is not an extension of its party.
The Election Commission apart from ignoring or over looking Congress misdemeanors has taken exceptionally harsh action against its political opponents. A case in point: compare the above described mild handling of a serious breach of conduct by the Congress with ECI’s harsh critique and serving of show cause notice to Narendra Modi in the 2007 Gujarat assembly elections.
In a highly inflammatory speech by Sonia Gandhi now infamously known as ‘maut ka saudagar’ speech, Sonia crossed all sense of decency and model code of conduct by attacking and demonizing a democratically elected chief minister. In another incident, releasing the Congress manifesto party General Secretary Digvijay Singh had called for a crack down on Muslim terrorism as well as Hindu terrorism.
In response to the above attacks on him Modi accused the Congress of defaming Hindus by calling them terrorist and also defended himself against the personal attack, which was well received by the masses. Piqued at being out foxed on both these instances Congress pressed EC to act.
The EC duly sent out a show cause notice to Narendra Modi. Renowned Narendra Modi baiter and self-styled messiah of the Muslims Teesta Setalvad too swung into action and made a complaint to the EC for fomenting hatred and violence against Muslims.
BJP found a handle with the Sonia ‘maut ka saudagar’ speech to hit back at Congress and its chief. The usual suspects such as Kapil Sibal and Digvijay Singh emerged to put a spin on the derogatory comments but BJP would have none of it and formally lodged a complaint with the ECI. LK Advani called for a press conference and defended Narendra Modi. He demanded to know from the ECI if Sonia was served any notice so far and termed the ‘maut ka saudagar’ speech as a provocation of the gravest kind, a personal attack betraying a perverse mind.
The Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalswamy close to his retirement did pursue the matter against Sonia Gandhi but he let off the case with a mild rebuke. But Narendra Modi was made to answer the charged against him, which he did in a letter addressed to the ECI.
Modi in a 10 page response to the ECI enclosed the video recordings of his speeches and refuted all accusations made against him and highlighted the false reporting in the Times of India, Statesman and Hindustan Times who were forced to retract their stories and issue an apology. The apologies were printed in some remote corner is another story.
Going on the offensive Narendra Modi decided to clear the air on his speech with respect to the Sohrabuddin encounter and pointed out that in the past 4 years that is from 2003 to 2007 there were 5,619 deaths due to terrorist attacks all over India but there has been only one fatality in Gujarat which goes to show the strong anti terror policies of the government of Gujarat. The war of words between Congress and BJP went on for a few days and Sonia Gandhi in response to the ECI questioning merely stated that ‘maut ka saudagar’ was not intended towards Narendra Modi and that was enough for the ECI to close the issue. Aren’t the double standards of the Election Commission obvious?
Thus these are the times we live in, Congress party in a bid to remain in power has destroyed one by one all the sacred institutions of India and the media both print and electronic are party to the destruction.
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