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Varun issue backfires on EC

Varun issue backfires on EC

Author: Kumar Uttam
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: March 24, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/164786/Varun-issue-backfires-on-EC.html

* To remain BJP candidate from Pilibhit
* EC selective, has no jurisdiction: BJP

Outraged by the Election Commission's suggestion to drop Varun Gandhi as candidate from Pilibhit, the BJP insisted on Monday that it would field him, while the politician son of late Sanjay Gandhi took pot shots at the Election Commission, saying his 'real court of appeal' lay with the people.

Varun expressed "deep disappointment" over the unseemly haste in which the EC passed an opinion without giving him a fair opportunity to establish his innocence. He pointed out that there were several candidates in the fray who had been convicted of or were being tried for crimes that carry far larger sentences than the one for which he has been accused of.

"Despite the same, at least till now, I find that the EC's eagerness to exercise its "recommendatory jurisdiction" begins and ends with my case alone. This itself coupled with the haste with which the EC has acted leaves one to believe that the action has been pressurised by political considerations," Varun said in a communication to the EC.

Also, in making adverse remarks and recommendations to the BJP and all other parties, Varun asserted, the EC has acted beyond its jurisdiction and has surpassed its powers, including under Article 324 of the Constitution of India.

The Election Commission's judgement also left the BJP fuming. "How the EC can tell us who should or should not be our candidates. It is not vested with any power to pass such orders," BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley pointed out.

The senior BJP leader said the EC was asking the party for something (debarring Varun from contesting the election) that even it was not in a position to ensure till someone was convicted for more than two years.

The party is now preparing for a high pitched campaign in Varun's constituency. "This suggestion of the Election Commission (to drop Varun) is pregnant with serious implications for the Indian democracy. In fact, this unprecedented move on the part of the Election Commission seeks to redefine the contours of democratic practices and traditions in operation since independence," party spokesman Balbir Punj said while announcing the BJP's decision to field him in the forthcoming elections.

The BJP reiterated that despite the serious nature of the speech by the chairman of the Congress Party Minority Cell Imran Kidwai, the EC has yet to take any action on the complaint filed by the BJP in this regard.

Moreover, it said, the presence of senior office-bearers of the Congress party, including the official candidate of Chandigarh, at the venue has also not spurred the EC to act till date and even issue a notice in this regard.

Gita ki kasam

PNS | Lucknow: Priyanka Vadera Gandhi termed Varun remarks "unfortunate" and claimed it was against the ideology of the Gandhi family. She claimed to be deeply 'hurt' as her family had always fought to maintain secular fabric. "The issue has saddened my family and Varun's remarks are not acceptable either by the country or my family," she said.

Priyanka was also critical of Varun's reference to Gita in his speech. "First Varun should read Gita… properly before making such comments," she said.

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