M A I N   N E W S

Two ECs must quit, says Lalu
Claims partisan role in Bihar

Lalu Prasad YadavPatna, May 7
The Election Commission was mired in a fresh controversy today when Railway Minister Lalu Prasad demanded immediate resignation of Election Commissioners B.B. Tandon and N. Gopalaswamy, who were accused by a senior IAS official of having made every attempt to countermand the poll in the Chapra Lok Sabha constituency last year.

“The Election Commission should be reconstituted and Mr Tandon and Mr Gopalaswamy must resign,” Lalu Prasad told a hurriedly called press conference where he distributed letter purported to have been written by L.V. Saptharishi, who was Special Observer in Bihar during the Lok Sabha poll, to Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj.

Belonging to the West Bengal cadre, Mr Saptharishi is at present Director-General of the Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART).

In view of the serious nature of accusations, the two must resign and the Election Commission reconstituted so that the prestige of the august organisation is not lowered, Lalu Prasad said alleging that the commissioners had conspired to prevent him from entering the Parliament. His party would raise the issue in the Parliament, he added.

“My conscience will not permit me to keep quiet and hence I am writing this letter to inform you that the appointment of Mr Tandon as the Chief Election Commissioner and continuation of Mr Gopalaswamy as the Election Commissioner would be extremely undesirable in the interest of fair play, justice and democracy and impartial conduct of future elections,” Mr Saptharishi said.

There was no reaction from the Election Commission on the charges levelled by the official. Mr Tandon is slated to take over as the Chief Election Commissioner on May 16.

In the letter to Mr Bharadwaj yesterday, Mr Saptharishi, who is to retire in a few months time, said although nothing extraordinary or abnormal happened at Chapra, where then Union Civil Aviation Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy of the BJP had crossed swords with Lalu Prasad, every attempt was made by Mr Tandon and Mr Gopalaswamy to countermand the poll after listening to the “unreasonable demands” of L.K. Advani (the then Home Minister), Mr Rudy and others.

The letter alleged that when Mr Saptharishi reached Delhi after the poll, the two Election Commissioners told him they wanted to “teach Lalu Prasad and all Yadavs a lesson as no Yadav can be trusted.” — PTI


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