New Delhi -Witch-hunting is on in political circles in Delhi over an ‘informal interaction’ between the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and three officials of the Election Commission of India (EC), including the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra. The meeting took place a day after the EC is said to have received an “irregular note” from the Ministry of Law, which is the administrative body of the Commission. The note said that P.K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ‘expected’ the EC officials to be present at a meeting regarding the common electoral roll.
Since the controversy erupted, the government has clarified that the meeting was held in the backdrop of the EC seeking key electoral reforms for quite some time. But those opposed to this meeting are not in a mood to let go of what they call “a breach of protocol.” In fact, former CEC S.Y. Quraishi even called the development “absolutely shocking.”
The question doing the rounds in Delhi on Friday was, “should the GOI have sent a note to the EC?”
As per reports, the informal meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended, among others, by Election Commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anoop Chandra Pandey, was aimed at bridging the gaps in understanding of the electoral reforms sought by the Commission.
Eyebrows have been raised over the said note and the meeting both. The main reason behind this response is that traditionally Commission has maintained a distance from the Executive. The interactions between the two sides usually remains relegated to the administrative part.
Official sources insist that the meeting was necessary in order to “expedite reforms so that there is no gap in understanding and no delay.” Since there was no discussion on the upcoming Assembly Polls in several states of India, the meeting was ‘proper’, it was said.
Photo Credit – The Indian Express