Thursday, January 19, 2012

[ZESTCaste] EC slams Mayawati for calling it anti-Dalit

New Delhi, January 18, 2012
EC slams Mayawati for calling it anti-Dalit
J. Balaji

EC order one-sided, says Mayawati "Why should Mayawati object, when
BJP, Congress accepted our earlier decisions?" Order to drape statues
justified, Commission tells BSP Are you going to break lanterns next,
asks Lalu EC order on statues violation of law, reconsider it: BSP
Round-the-clock work on covering statues completed No violation of
Model Code of Conduct, says Khurshid

The Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday slammed Uttar Pradesh Chief
Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati for calling the EC
"anti-Dalit" for its January 8 order to drape statutes of her and of
her party symbol – elephant – put up in the State at the government's

The EC "regrets" that such an allegation was made and "rejects" it.

"It expects a higher sense of responsibility and constitutional
decorum from major political parties and their leaders. It notes with
concern such statements coming from those holding senior
Constitutional positions," the Commission said in a release.

While the EC took all views about its working in its stride, it was
disturbed that Ms. Mayawati cast serious aspersions on it, in public,
by attributing anti-Dalit and casteist motives to its order (on
statutes) and also by alleging that the order was inspired by pressure
from some political parties.

"The EC 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 EC to ensure that these aspects are not allowed to vitiate the
election process."

The order was in conformity with the EC's consistent practice to
remove photographs and pictures of active political leaders at all
public places, put up at the cost of public exchequer, so that there
was no undue advantage or disadvantage to political parties and the

The basic philosophy of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was that the
political parties, particularly the parties in power at the Centre and
in the States, did not use their official power and official machinery
in a manner which might lead to complaints of misuse to influence the
voters. "This basic philosophy of MCC has met with the approval of the
Supreme Court in a catena of cases."

On the BSP's contention that the elephant statues were in welcome
posture with trunks raised and were different from the party's symbol
wherein the elephant was seen with its trunk down, the EC said it was
not acceptable. "In that case, other political parties would seek
allotment of the Elephant symbol in different postures."

While enforcing the level playing field, the EC did not take into
account statues raised with private funds, whether of political
leaders or election symbols or otherwise.

The EC pointed out that in the implementation of the MCC, it did not
engage in prior consultations every time, but tried to take early
remedial action in order to keep the electoral process on the track.
In any case, here the EC was covering a government property, hence the
need to consult any political party did not arise.

Looking from whatever rules, facts and reasoning, the step to cover
the statues was the most appropriate and available option before the
EC, it said.

Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi told The Hindu
that the EC wanted to put an end to the controversy as allegations had
been levelled against it on a daily basis. "We wanted to make the
facts clear and end it as we have a lot of other work to do," he said.


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