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Election Commission seeks explanation from Amit Shah over Joy Banerjee's remarks

New Delhi: Taking umbrage at the remarks of a West Bengal BJP leader that the Election Commission is now under the party's “control”, the poll watchdog on Tuesday asked its national president Amit Shah to
PTI September 22, 2015 21:55 IST
PTI

New Delhi: Taking umbrage at the remarks of a West Bengal BJP leader that the Election Commission is now under the party's “control”, the poll watchdog on Tuesday asked its national president Amit Shah to explain by Friday the BJP's position on the controversial statement.

In a letter to Mr. Shah, the Commission referred to the purported remarks of West Bengal BJP leader Joy Banerjee made at a public meeting in Birbhum on September 20 that his party has “control over the Election Commission”.

The poll panel also referred to his remarks on the security arrangements for the assembly polls in the state due next year.

“The Commission considers that the above-referred statement of Mr. Banerjee amounts to denigrating the integrity of the Election Commission as the statement can distort public perception about the neutrality, autonomy and independence of the Election Commission.

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“The Commission has directed that the Bharatiya Janata Party may explain its position with regard to the above statement of Mr. Banerjee. The reply of the party may be submitted by September 25,” the EC said in a letter addressed to the BJP President.

Addressing a rally in Mayureshwar in Birbhum on Sunday, Mr. Banerjee had reportedly said his party has “control over the Election Commission” and it would ensure adequate deployment of central forces to oversee elections in West Bengal. He also said if BJP won the Bihar elections, it will “run a bulldozer” in Bengal in the next polls.

The poll panel has also enclosed a CD of the remarks made in Bengali language and clippings of newspapers carrying the report.

After the EC letter, BJP said it has nothing to do with Mr. Banerjee's remarks which he had made in personal capacity. It also noted that he has already apologised for his comments.

“The Election Commission is a constitutional body and BJP has all the respect for its independence,” BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said.