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EC lost its independence, time to review how it is appointed: Congress

The remarks came after Election Commission curtailed electioneering for nine Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal by 20 hours

Rahul Gandhi
Congress President Rahul Gandhi

Accusing the Election Commission of losing its credibility and independence, the Congress on Thursday said time has come to review the process of the poll panel's appointment.

Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the order prohibiting campaigning in West Bengal by 20 hours is a "dark spot" on India's democracy and institutions like the Election Commission.

"Election Commission has completely abdicated its Constitutional duty under Art 324 to ensure level playing field, besides negating the due process under Article 14 and 21 of India's Constitution," he told reporters.

"The time has come to review the process of appointment of Election Commission," he said, calling for a national debate on the issue.

The Congress, a responsible political party, has never cast unwarranted aspersions on the actions of Constitutional bodies, Surjewala said.

The party also accused the EC of woking in favour of the BJP. "This appears to be Election Commission’s parting gift to Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi & BJP, in order to ensure that the two pre announced election rallies of Shri Modi at Mathurapur and Dum Dum in afternoon/evening today are not hit by the EC’s order," a press release issued by the Congress stated.

The EC's action came a day after violence during BJP chief Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata. The order followed two reports, one from the EC-appointed special observers for Bengal Ajay Nayak and Vivek Dubey, and the other from deputy chief election commissioner in charge of the state Sudeep Jain. 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said the EC's decisions have been taken on the direction of the BJP. She also claimed that RSS people have been inducted into the Election Commission.

"Some emergency situation has arisen due to some directions of the Election Commission. I don't consider these as EC's decision. These have been taken as per the direction of the BJP, Modi and Amit Shah," she said.