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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Election Commissioner Gopalaswami blames Navin Chawla of bias

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CEC recommends removal of Navin Chawla
The Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami has recommended to the government removal of the other Election Commissioner Navin Chawla. The BJP had alleged that Chawla was close to the Congress party.
Until now, it was known only in a hush-hush way through the newspapers that in addition to other respectable high posts like President, Vice-President and PM, even the supposedly unbiased nonpartisan post of Election Commissioner has been devalued under despot Antonia Maino's dispensation. Navin Chawla was accused to be working under her majesty's orders. But the cat is now out of the bag. It would have gotten worse when an outgoing Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) would have been silently replaced by the controversial Navin Chawla but the matter is now in the public domain and open for public scrutiny.
The recommendation comes about three months before Gopalaswami is to demit office on April 20 and is based on a petition by the BJP which had complained against the "partisan" functioning of Chawla.

In 2006, leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha L K Advani and 204 MPs had submitted a petition to then President APJ Abdul Kalam seeking the removal of Chawla as Election Commissioner on the ground of alleged partisanship. The main opposition party also took the matter to the Supreme Court.

Gopalaswami in his affidavit to the apex court had claimed that the CEC had suo motu power to recommend the removal of an Election Commissioner. Following which the BJP withdrew its petition in the apex court and again took up the issue with the CEC.

Government had maintained in the Supreme Court that the CEC had no suo motu power power to remove an Election Commissioner.
It seems Gopalaswami doesn't trust Chawla and the other commissioner to perform their duties in an unbiased and nonpartisan way.
Gopalaswami is understood to be of the view that Chawla and the other Election Commissioner S Y Qurashi could get together and ensure that the Lok Sabha elections could very well start after April 20 once he is out of the Commission.
Looks like history is repeating itself.
This is for the second time that removal of an Election Commissioner is coming up before the poll panel. In 1990, soon after the National Front government came to power, it removed two Commissioners appointed by the Rajiv Gandhi government by reducing the number of Commissioners from the three-member Commission just before the 1998 polls.
BJP demands firm action on CEC's recommendation on Chawla

Political detachment has never been Chawla’s virtue: Jaitely

President should sack Chawla: BJP

CEC's recommendation binding on government: Jaitley

CEC recommends removal of Navin Chawla

We feel vindicated, says BJP over CEC's action on Chawla
Welcoming Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami's recommendation for the removal of his colleague Navin Chawla, BJP on Saturday said the move would strengthen the autonomy and impartial nature of the poll panel.

"More than 200 MPs petitioned the President seeking the removal of Chawla as Election Commissioner. The Congress- led government did not act on that. We hope the President would at least act now," senior BJP Leader M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters in Hyderabad.

I will not resign, says Navin Chawla. Of course, laaj jaye par kursi na jaye!

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