With all-round appreciation of the Election Commission (EC), for its bold and daring decision to countermand the Rajya Sabha poll for two seats from Jharkhand, an upset EC has asked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to speak with “one voice” in Delhi and Ranchi.
A senior official of the EC pointed out that “motives” were attributed by some BJP leaders in Ranchi wherein they had alleged that the EC's decision to cancel the poll was “influenced' by the Congress. “This is not fair or acceptable when the Commission, a constitutional body, takes every step to ensure that the polls are held in a free and fair manner with a level playing field to all candidates,” he said.
“The political parties should help the Commission to totally curb money power and horse-trading instead of criticising it for every step it takes keeping the country and democracy in mind,” the official added.
Regarding the new date for the RS poll, he said it would be decided soon and the lessons learnt by the EC would be kept in mind. Appropriate measures would be taken to ensure that “money power” did not play any role again, he said.
Meanwhile, lauding the EC for its “bold” decision, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha asked it to get a thorough probe conducted by the CBI or any other agency into the events since the start of the election process.
In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, Mr. Sinha noted that Jharkhand had become a “happy hunting ground for unscrupulous moneybags” and asked the poll body to investigate the role of MLAs and why they agreed to sign the nomination papers of independent candidates.
“Those found guilty of electoral malpractices, both among candidates and their proposers, should be barred from contesting elections for the maximum permissible period,” he said.
The BJP leader also asked the CEC to separately proceed against those legislators found guilty under the Prevention of Corruption Act, they being public servants.
Mr. Sinha demanded that the expenditure limit for RS poll be reduced drastically to a few thousand rupees, as they were indirect elections and said Mr. Quraishi should ask all candidates who filed their nominations to submit their election expenditure statements and get the same strictly scrutinised by the investigation agency.
The EC should exercise strict vigil from the start of election process in future, as done for the Lok Sabha and the Assembly polls, Mr. Sinha said and feared “what would have happened if the cash had not been seized and the Commission had not cancelled the election.”
Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani too had welcomed the EC's decision to countermand the poll.