M A I N   N E W S

EC to assess polls in 6 Bihar segments
JD(U), BJP cry foul, call it a ‘conspiracy’ by Lalu
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, May 8
A day after the polls for the Lok Sabha ended in Bihar, the Election Commission has sent high-level enquiry teams to probe and assess whether the procedures of polling were followed properly in six Lok Sabha constituencies of the state.

The state administration as well as the ruling coalition of Bihar (JD-U and BJP) are baffled over the “ex-party” decision of the EC to send such kind of probe teams. As the state administration does not have any role to play on its own in conducting the elections, all its top officers are tight lipped over this issue.

But the BJP and JD(U) are crying foul over the EC’s action. Bihar BJP chief Radha Mohan Singh and JD(U) spokesman and Rajya Sabha member Shivanand Tiwary have lodged a strong protest with Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla over the “surprise probe” being carried out into the elections for the Saran, Maharajganj, Aurangabad, Jehanabad, Jamui (SC) and Munger seats.

Addressing a press conference here this evening, Singh and Tiwary said that they have sought the basis of this high-level probe being carried out at the behest of EC. The manner in which six high-level teams being led by the Chief Electoral Officers of other states landed in Bihar and rushed straight to the constituencies they have been assigned to probe smacks of “foul play”, the duo charged.

No political party or the candidates in the fray had been informed about this probe or the mandate of the enquiry teams, they said. Unless and until the political parties or the candidates contesting from the particular constituencies know the mandate and modalities of the enquiry how will they be convinced about the fairness of this enquiry? they questioned.

The ruling coalition of Bihar had threatened to launch a mass agitation against the EC’s action if they were not explained about the basis of this enquiry and the mandate and modalities to be adopted by the probe teams.

The NDA leaders have also alleged that RJD chief and Railway Minister Lalu Yadav was behind all this and the EC was acting under his pressure. According to them, Lalu wanted to get the elections in his constituency (Saran) countermanded as he was fully convinced about his defeat from there.

They further said that Lalu had threatened the Prime Minister as well as the AICC president to get the polls in his constituency countermanded or he would “spill the beans” about how they saved their government and put them in an embarrassing situation. Lalu’s decision to abstain from the cabinet meetings at Delhi is also a pressure tactics in this matter, alleged Singh and Tiwary.

What seems to have surprised everybody about this probe is that there were no complaints as such either from the candidates in the fray, including Lalu Yadav, or any political party regarding fairness of polls.

The RJD-LJP and the Congress have maintained a mysterious silence over this “controversial” probe.



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