New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday alleged that the Election Commission's "capitulation" before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is obvious and the poll watchdog is not feared and respected anymore.
Training his guns on the poll body on the last day of polling for the Lok Sabha election, he listed a host of examples, including Modi's visit to Kedarnath in Uttarakhand, to accuse the EC of being biased towards the prime minister.
"From electoral bonds and EVMs to manipulating the election schedule, NaMo TV, 'Modi's Army' and now the drama in Kedarnath; the Election Commission's capitulation before Mr Modi and his gang is obvious to all Indians," Rahul tweeted. "The EC used to be feared and respected. Not anymore."
The Congress chief's tweet came a day after his party hit out at the poll panel after Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa reportedly wrote to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora that he will be recusing himself from EC meetings as his dissent was not being recorded on clearances given by the poll panel to the prime minister over the alleged poll code violations.
While the EC had concluded that NaMo TV, sponsored by the BJP, can't display 'election matter' during the poll silence period, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath had described the Indian Army as "Modiji ke sena" (Modi's Army).
Congress and Rahul have been accusing the EC of being "biased" and "partial".
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram also hit out at the EC on Sunday, alleging that the poll panel has "surrendered its independence".
"Our charge had been that the EC was sleeping on the job. Now, we can go further and say that the EC completely surrendered its independence and authority. Shame!" he said on Twitter.
"Polling is over. Now we can say that the 'pilgrimage' of the prime minister in the last two days is an unacceptable use of religion and religious symbols to influence the voting," he said.
Modi was in Uttarakhand for two days and offered prayers at the Kedarnath and Badrinath temples, which Opposition parties termed a much-publicised trip and alleged poll code violation.
Demanding a probe into charges made by Lavasa, the Congress on Saturday alleged that eroding institutional integrity has been the hallmark of the Modi government and asked whether the poll panel has become “Election Omission” and a “puppet” in the PM's hands.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had asked whether the EC will save itself more embarrassment by recording Lavasa's dissent notes, as he accused PM Modi of "muzzling" democratic institutions.
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Updated Date: May 19, 2019 21:44:00 IST