Even as the Election Commission finds itself in the eye of a storm over EVM security and one of the Election Commissioners, Ashok Lavasa complaining that he was not being allowed to record his dissent, the Commission received some unexpected support from former Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat.
By and large the Election Commission, said Rawat while speaking to National Herald, had acquitted itself well, although, he agreed that the EC could have acted faster in some cases during the campaign this year or done things differently.
However, there was “no meaning” of Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa making his dissent public after the campaign for the last phase of elections was over, Rawat said on Tuesday.
Speaking with National Herald, Rawat contended that Lavasa should have dissented “then and there”.
“The dissent by one of the Election Commissioners hardly has any meaning now. If dissent was there, it should have been thrown then and there. But it was made public only after the campaign was over on May 17,” Rawat told National Herald.
“If he was not allowed to record his dissent, he should have spoken at that point itself. Nothing would have stopped him. For example, when I was the CEC, (Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor) Arvind Kejriwal raised doubts over my impartiality in the 21 AAP MLAs office of profit case.
“He alleged that I was, in his perception, close to the BJP as I came from Madhya Pradesh that was being ruled by the BJP for 15 years. I immediately recused myself from the AAP legislators’ case despite my fellow commissioners and officials suggesting that such comments by Kejriwal did not matter. But I did what I did. So Mr. Lavasa could have taken a similar stand when it mattered,” Rawat added.
He, however, agreed that there was indeed a delay on the part of the Election Commission in disposing of cases of model code of conduct (MCC) violations in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.
On the issue of EC apparently giving a long rope to the ruling party leaders and particularly Prime Minister Narendra Modi in cases of alleged MCC violations, he said that though the decision in a case depends on many factors, but the poll panel could have done “slightly better in one or two cases”.