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EC doesn't treat Srinivas as harshly as it did Varun

EC doesn't treat Srinivas as harshly as it did Varun

Author: Pioneer News Service
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 15, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/169686/EC-doesn't-treat-Srinivas-as-harshly-as-it-did-Varun.html

After Lalu, lets off APCC chief lightly

The Election Commission on Tuesday let off Andhra Pradesh Congress chief D Srinivas who threatened to "sever" the hand that pointed fingers at minorities. The BJP had filed a petition against Srinivas for his provocative speech.

Having gone through the speech by Srinivas at Nizamabad in Andhra Pradesh and the report of the State Chief Electoral Officer, the poll panel conveyed its strong disapproval of Srinivas' comments and asked him to desist from making such speeches in future.

Interestingly, for similar utterances, the EC had advised the BJP to withdraw Varun Gandhi as its candidate from Pilibhit.

"The commission has expressed its strong disapproval to Srinivas for his comments and asked him not to make such statements," Deputy Election Commissioner R Balakrishnan told mediapersons here.

The BJP complaint had accused Srinivas of inciting communal hatred and anger among minorities against the majority community. Since it constitutes a violation of model code of conduct and is an electoral offence under the Representation of Peoples Act, the BJP demanded strict action against Srinivas.

Not only were the statements alleged to be "highly objectionable", the BJP petition stated that the religious sentiments of the majority community were hurt by the leader's comments. The BJP also requested the commission to examine the statement in the light of the time and place intended to play "vote bank politics" by provoking minorities against majority community.

The commission on Monday let off Union Minister Lalu Prasad for vowing to crush Varun Gandhi under roller for his anti-Muslim comments. Distinguishing between Lalu and Varun, the commission had said, "You have to see the gravity of his (Varun's) statement. While Prasad's statement was against an individual, Gandhi's statement threatened the entire community."

In the case of Srinivas, the commission was dealing not with an individual but a community. Yet the commission preferred to give a mild reprimand to Srinivas as compared to the harsh treatment meted out to Varun.


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