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It is beneath dignity to respond to scurrilous charges: EC

Sunday 8 May 2005

New Delhi, May. 8 (PTI): Mired in a controversy over alleged attempts to countermand the Chapra Lok Sabha polls in Bihar last year, the Election Commission today said it was beneath its dignity to respond to such "scurrilous and baseless" allegations.

"The free, fair and impartial manner in which the elections are being conducted in the country, including Bihar, has been seen and widely applauded by the whole country," the full Commission said after an emergency meeting here.

The Commision met in the wake of allegations of senior IAS official L V Saptharishi, who was a Special Observer for the elections in Bihar, that attempts were made by Election Commissioners B B Tandon and N Gopalaswami, to countermand the poll in Chapra contested by RJD supremo and now Railway Minister Lalu Prasad.

"The Commission considers it beneath its dignity to respond to the scurrilous and baseless allegations made therein, singling out the two Election Commissioners," an EC press note said.

On countermanding of the Chapra poll, the EC said the full Commission passed a unanimous quasi-judicial order on May 10 last year setting out in detail the reasons for its order.

"The Commission strongly deprecates personal attacks made on the two Election Commissioners and K J Rao, Advisor, and considers such attacks highly reprehensible," the press note said.

The May 10 order countermanding the poll was immediately made public through the print and electronic media and put on its website for public scrutiny and was open for judicial review, it added.

Yesterday, Prasad had demanded immediate resignation of Tandon and Gopalaswamy in the wake of the allegations.

"In view of the serious nature of accusations, the two must resign and the EC reconstituted so that the prestige of the august organisation is not lowered," Prasad had said.

He also alleged that the two Commissioners had conspired to prevent him from entering Parliament and said his party would raise the issue in Parliament.

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