New Delhi: Ashok Lavasa, the election commissioner who disagreed with the poll panel’s decision to give a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah of charges of violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), mandated by the Election Commission — which regulates candidate, party and government behaviour during the elections — has, since May 4 recused himself from all meetings to discuss MCC issues.
“I am being forced to stay away from the meetings of the full commission since minority decisions are not being recorded,” Ashok Lavasa wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner on May 4.
“My participation in the deliberations of the Commission becomes meaningless since my minority decisions go unrecorded,” Ashok Lavasa said in the letter.
A former finance secretary, Lavasa differed with the decision of the two other members of the poll body, Arora and election commissioner Sushil Chandra, while deciding on the cases of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) violations against Prime Minister Modi and BJP president Shah.
He suggested sending a notice to Modi, which wasn’t accepted. There were at least six complaints in which the PM was given a clean chit, while Congress president Rahul Gandhi was let off in one case.
“I might consider taking recourse to other measures aimed at restoring the lawful functioning of the Commission in terms of recording minority decisions,” he wrote in the letter addressed to the CEC.
“My various notes on the need for transparency in the recording and disclosure of all decisions including the minority view have gone unheeded, forcing me to withdraw from participating in the deliberations on the complaints.”
Several complaints pertaining to the violations of the MCC, including one against Prime Minister Modi, for addressing former PM Rajiv Gandhi as “Bhrashtachari No 1” is now pending with the commission.
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Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs
Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.
“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.
This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.
According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.
Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara
Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.
The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.
“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.
Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha
New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.
With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.
Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.
Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.
However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.
The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.
The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.
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