NEw Delhi, April 28: The Election Commission is a “silent spectator” to the “excesses” of the ruling BJP and to the utterances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and has “largely failed” the people of India, former Union minister P Chidambaram said on Sunday.
In an interview to news agency PTI, the senior Congress leader also said that the plank of nationalism, propagated by the saffron party, is a ploy to hide the “failures” of the NDA government.
“According to me, the Election Commission has largely failed the people of India. It has been a silent spectator to the excesses of the BJP, Mr Modi’s utterances and the enormous amount of money that has been spent by the BJP,” Chidambaram said.
The former finance minister’s remarks came after the Opposition recently approached the poll watchdog, alleging that the prime minister had “brazenly” violated the poll code by invoking the armed forces repeatedly during his election rallies and called for a campaign ban on him for some time.
The Congress said it has given 37 representations to the poll body of which 10 can be categorised under “hate speeches, virulent, divisive, polarising” by Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.
Besides this, the former Union minister also spoke on a host of issues, ranging from the possibility of UPA-III coming to power, recent raids conducted by the Income Tax department and the CBI and Enforcement Directorate on some opposition leaders among others.
The senior Congress leader claimed that the poll body has been asking accounts of every opposition candidates, including their minor expenses. “They (EC) are adding what it is called notional expenditure, to the expenditure account of the candidates. If you apply the same standard, every BJP candidate will be disqualified,” he said.
Chidambaram also hit out at the saffron party for raising the issue of nationalism during the campaigning and wondered if Indians were anti-nationals before the BJP came to power.
“Nationalism is a slogan to hide their failure. Every Indian is a patriot. No patriot can be called anti-national. The BJP has manipulated the media to sell this idea of nationalism which has no meaning. The only relevant question is (whether) every Indian is happier than what he was five years ago. I am saying ‘No’. Every Indian is living in fear. Women, Dalits, Scheduled Tribes, journalists, academicians, all of them are living in fear,” he said.
The Congress leader also exuded confidence that the BJP will not be able to retain power this year and that the SP, BSP and TMC will join hands with the Grand Old Party after the poll results are declared. “The government will be a non-BJP government. Obviously, that is Congress plus preelection allies which will play a big part. If there are more postelection allies, then I think the UPA-III has a very good chance,” he said.
“I am very confident that the SP, BSP and the TMC, which are now contesting separately, will join hands with the Congress and other UPA parties,” he added.
On the recent IT raids, Chidambaram said that never before in India, especially during the poll period, were the agencies so “blatantly misused”.
“There are 545 constituencies in India. Is unaccounted money found only in opposition candidates contesting some constituencies? No BJP candidate has got unaccounted money?” he said.
“They said tip-offed. Tip-offs (come) only about opposition candidates? There is no tip-offs about the BJP candidates? What about the huge amount spent in every PM rally? Every (PM) rally must be costing about Rs 10 crore. Where are these money coming from? Who is paying for the rallies? Where is that accounted for?” he added.(Courtesy:IE)