‘President should intervene to protect the constitutional status of the poll panel’

A. M. Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on May 05, 2019

CPI national secretary D Raja told BusinessLine that the Election Commission of India (ECI) has failed to take action against BJP leaders who communalised the election campaigns. He said even the manifesto of the BJP has communally sensitive content, but the poll panel has turned a blind eye towards the complaints filed by opposition parties.

He said the ECI should have taken note of the communal campaign harping on sensitive issues such as Ayodhya and Sabarimala. “The BJP manifesto is very brazen. It identifies with their agenda of Hindu Rashtra. They say they want to uphold civilisational continuity. What is that civilisational continuity? They do not want themselves to identify with the idea of India which is multicultural, multilingual and multinational,” Raja said.

He said many BJP leaders, including ministers, have said in the past that the Constitution has to be changed and Prime Minister Narendra Modi remained silent on such statements. “They want to impose a monolithic, illiberal socio-political order,” he said.

He urged President Ramnath Kovind to intervene so that the constitutional status of Election Commission is maintained. “The Election Commission pleads that it has no power. If that is genuine, then there is a need to strengthen it. A proper mechanism should be evolved to appoint election commissioners and the Chief Election Commissioner,” he said.

He criticised the poll panel’s clean chit to Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. “If the Election Commission can ban the campaign of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, then how can it allow Amit Shah and Narendra Modi to hold communal campaigns? Wherever the BJP president has gone, he has tried to pit people against each other. They have also drawn the Army into controversies. The President should have reacted to it. Why he was silent and ignored such campaigns? How can they call Indian Army as Modi’s Army? This is a serious matter. The President is the head of the country. He should have acted,” Raja said.

‘Dragging in the Army’

He said the BJP resorts to abuses rather than responding to the issues raised by the Opposition. “Public debate should be meaningful and should be issue-based. But they themselves had taken the debate to a low-level personalised campaign. Despite all these, the opposition parties have raised very genuine issues. The BJP and its allies do not raise any major issues but try to create a false narrative like a debate on nationalism. They think that national security is the concern of just one party. They politicise the work of our defence forces. End of the day, people will have to think about their bread and butter issues,” Raja added.

He said the BJP manifesto is silent about the increase in input cost. “They have no suggestions to control the input cost. Cultivable land must be protected to achieve the goal of self-sufficiency in food. Parliament should have a special sitting on the agrarian crisis,” he said, and added that the Congress’ proposed Nyay for poor people should not be a substitute for programmes for job creation. “It should not replace the existing welfare schemes,” he said.

Published on May 05, 2019

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