CEC Sunil Arora denies ‘internal rift’ in EC after CEC Ashok Lavasa recuses himself from EC meetings

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Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora on Saturday released a statement denying the internal rift within the Election Commission over the handling of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC). In a page statement, CEC said that “the three members of the Commission are not expected to be templates or clones of each other”.

The statement added, ‘There have been so many times in the past when there has been a vast diversion of views as it can, and should be. But the same largely remained within confines of ECI after demission of office unless appearing much later in a book written by the concerned ECs/CECs. I personally never shied away from a public debate whenever required but there is time for everything’.

‘An unsavory and avoidable controversy reported in sections of media today about the internal functioning of ECI in respect of the handling of Model Code of Conduct.’ CEC said while denying a clarification.

Chief Election Commissioner’s reaction came on media reports of a letter written to him by Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, recusing himself from EC meetings held to decide on MCC violations, after his dissent on the clean chit given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah on their respective speeches, went unrecorded.

Reportedly, Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa in his letter insisted he only attend meetings if his decisions, (be it in minority) will also be included in the orders of the Commission.

The Election Commission three members panel include Sunil Arora, Ashok Lavasa, and Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra.

Reacting on the development, Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala attacked NDA Government at Centre. ‘Election Commission OR Election Omission! Another Dark Day for Democracy! Sh Ashok Lavasa, Member CEC, who dissented on multiple occasions when EC was busy giving clean chits to ModiShah duo, opts out of EC as the ECI even refuse to record dissent notes’ said Surjewala in a tweet.

He added, ‘Erosion of Institutional Integrity is the hallmark of Modi Govt! SC Judges going public, RBI Guv’s resigning CBI Director getting removed CVC giving vacuous reports Now Dividing Election Commission! Will EC save the embarrassment by recording Sh Lavasa’s dissent notes?’.

It should be noted that the EC in a run-up to the national polls has given at least 9 clean chits to PM Modi on the complaints of alleged poll code violations.

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