Wednesday, January 18, 2012

[ZESTCaste] EC rules out reconsideration of order to cover Mayawati statues

EC rules out reconsideration of order to cover Mayawati statues
Published: Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012, 19:09 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The Election Commission today ruled out reconsideration of its order
to cover statues of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and BSP
party symbol 'elephant' and rejected her "aspersions" that the
directive was "anti-Dalit" and "casteist".

The poll authority also said it saw "no reason or justification" to
reconsider its order to cover statues of Mayawati and the elephant
symbol of the BSP built at government cost in poll-bound UP.

The EC, in a statement, said while it took all views about its working
in its stride, it was "disturbed" that the UP chief minister had cast
serious aspersions on the Commission's order by attributing anti-Dalit
and casteist motives to it.

"Commission regrets that such an allegation was made and rejects the
allegation," the EC said in a statement.

The poll authority said it expected a higher sense of responsibility
and Constitutional decorum from major political parties and their

"It notes with concern such statements coming from those holding
senior Constitutional positions," the EC said.

"She is a senior leader. What can I say? She should think before
making such comments," Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi told
reporters when asked for comments on the issue.

In a related development, the Commission also rejected a BSP plea to
reconsider its order to cover statues of the party symbol 'elephant'
and that of Mayawati built using public funds in the state.

"...the Commission does not see any reason or justification to
reconsider its order," R K Srivastava, Principal Secretary, Election
Commission, said in a letter to BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra.

Mishra, in a letter to the Commission on January 11, had accused it of
giving a "one-sided" direction to cover the statues of Mayawati and
the elephant symbol.

The EC said it needs to reiterate that it takes its decisions and
enforces them within the provisions of the Constitution and that does
not include considerations of religion, race, caste and community in
the manner alleged.

"Rather it is one of the assigned responsibilities of the Commission
to ensure that these aspects are not allowed to vitiate the election
process," the statement said.

The EC noted that the its order only relates to statues of living
leaders of political parties who were still active in politics.

"That is why statues of several icons including that of late Kanshi
Ram as well as of other parties have not been ordered to be covered,"
the statement said.

The Commission also said the contention that the statues of elephants
as erected are different from the election symbol of BSP was not

"In that case, other political parties would be in a position to seek
allotment of the elephant symbol in different postures," it said.

On references in Mishra's letter to the 'statues being established by
the BSP', the EC pointed out that the party, during the proceedings on
a plea to freeze the 'elephant' symbol in 2010, had taken the stand
that the statues were built by the UP government and the party was not
in anyway concerned.

The EC pointed out that since the BSP had said it was not concerned
with the installation of the statues, it cannot contend that the
Commission should have given notice to the party before issuing
directions to cover the statues.

The Commission said in view of Mishra's present admission that the
statues were established by BSP, it may have to take a relook at its
earlier order dated October 11, 2010.

In October 2010, the EC had rejected petitions by some lawyers to
freeze the elephant symbol of the BSP.

"It also needs to be clarified that in implementation of the Model
Code of Conduct, the Commission does not engage in prior consultations
every time, but looks to take early remedial action in order to keep
the electoral process on the track," the statement said.

It pointed out that the Commission was covering a government property,
hence the need to consult any political party does not arise.

Mishra, in his letter to the poll authority, had complained that the
Commission had not sought the BSP's opinion in the matter and ordered
covering of statues on the basis of communications received from other
political parties.

"The Commission hopes that the aforesaid explanation makes its stand
on the covering of the statues amply clear. It does not intend to
further engage in elaborating the matter in the thick of its election
management work," the EC statement said.

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