Modi Govt wants to ensure ‘Control’ over EC in Poll Year: Congress

New Delhi: The Congress on Friday alleged that the Modi government wants to ensure control over the Election Commission in a poll year.
Sharing a letter written in June 2012 by veteran BJP leader L K Advani to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said even he had said that the appointments to constitutional bodies should be done in a bipartisan manner to remove any impression of bias.
The Centre on Thursday tabled a contentious bill in Rajya Sabha that seeks to replace the Chief Justice of India with a cabinet minister in the panel for selection of the chief election commissioner and election commissioners, in a move that will allow the government to have more control in the appointments of members of the poll panel.
Ramesh said Advani had also proposed a panel at that time with the Chief Justice of India and leaders of opposition in both houses, besides the prime minister.
“In its current form, the CEC Bill will ensure executive interference with its 2:1 dominance of the Committee. This coming from the Modi government in a election year further cements the view that Mr. Modi wants to ensure control over the Election Commission,” the Congress leader charged on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana would go for polls this year
Advani had written to Singh that, “There is a rapidly growing opinion in the country which holds that appointments to Constitutional bodies such the Election Commission should be done on a bipartisan basis in order to remove any impression of bias or lack of transparency and fairness.”
Ramesh said, “No, this isn’t a Modi critic. This is an excerpt from the second para of a letter from Advani to then PM Dr. Manmohan Singh on 2nd June, 2012. You can still find the letter on BJP’s website.”
He said to select the CEC and the Election Commissioners, the Committee he proposed comprised of the CJI along with leaders of the Opposition from both Houses of Parliament.
“The CEC Bill brought by the Modi government is not only against what Advani proposed but also overturns a 5-judge Constitutional bench judgment from 2nd March, 2023.
“‘In order to allow independence in the functioning of the Election Commission as a Constitutional body, the office of Chief Election Commissioners as well as the Election Commissioners have to be insulated from the executive interference’,” the Congress leader said quoting the Supreme Court verdict.
The Congress and other Opposition parties have been opposing the new CEC Bill. (Agencies)