BJP says govt interest “convergent” with EC Chawla’s

via published on July 1, 2006

NEW DELHI: Election Commissioner Navin Chawla’s deposition that he cannot be sacked without government advice drew sharp reaction from the BJP, which cited a Constitutional provision that empowers the Chief Election Commissioner to recommend the removal of an EC.

“It (the deposition) shows there is convergence of interest in the stand of Navin Chawla and of the government,” BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad, who has demanded Chawla’s removal for his alleged links with the Congress, told reporters here.

In his affidavit to the Supreme Court, which is hearing senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh’s petition against Chawla, the Election Commissioner insists he cannot be removed from his post without the advice of the Union Council of Ministers.

Prasad, who cited the Constitutional provision that empowers the CEC to recommend an EC’s removal, said his party believed the government should step in to “safeguard” the Election Commission’s reputation as a symbol of the country’s unbiased electoral process.

“Election Commissioner come and go. But it’s the matter of protecting the reputation of the Election Commission, an institution that symbolises India’s fair electoral process,” Prasad said.

In his affidavit earlier, then CEC B B Tandon, however, has maintained that any complaint against an Election Commissioner has to be sent to the CEC by the President for recommendation under Article 324(5) of the Constitution.

Chawla is facing allegations he has received funds from Congress politicians for his family trusts.

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