Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
New Delhi: After accusing the Election Commission of being biased and challenging its neutrality for denying permission to its prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi to hold rallies in Varanasi, the BJP has made fresh allegations against the city administration that its working under the influence of the ruling Samajwadi Party.
Speaking to a TV news channel, senior BJP leader and its spokesperson Ravi Shnkar Prasad alleged that Varanasi District Magistrate Pranjal Yadav, who is also the Returning Officer, of having close links with the top leadership of the Samajwadi Party.
"The primary job of the Election Commission is to ensure free and fair poll. But they did not take any action in what happened in Ferozabad, what happened in Bengal and I am making an additional charge on your channel with full sense of responsibility that the Varanasi District Magistrate is closely related to leadership of the Samajwadi Party," Prasad was quoted as saying.
Shortly after that the Samajwadi Party categorically rejected the allegations made against it by the BJP. "He is not a relative and also very importantly the state government would not intervene to give any directions to any returning officer. We are well aware of our constitutional responsibilities," SP`s Gaurav Bhatia reportedly said.
Reacting to this, Prasad further stressed, "We have also got certain information and, I repeat, about the very close relationships of the District Magistrate with the ruling family there."
A war of words on Thursday between the Election Commission and the BJP erupted after the Varanasi administration denied permission to Modi, who was scheduled to hold several rallies and attend a “Ganga Aarti” at the ghats of city.
After a high drama, the Varanasi administration finally gave its nod to the BJP but the party alleged that it came very late. Modi yesterday held a massive roadshow in Varanasi in protest against the Election Commission after one of his rallies in the city was cancelled by the district administration. The roadshow came shortly after the EC slammed the BJP for "disrespecting" the poll panel.
"We appeal to senior leaders of parties to display greater maturity when referring to the EC," CEC VS Sampath said at a press conference, called shortly after the BJP held a massive protest in Varanasi over the cancellation of the rally. "We are disappointed that a national party should embark on a protest against the EC," Sampath said, making it abundantly clear that the poll panel was not "scared of anyone - any political party or entity".
Reacting to the allegations made against him by BJP, the young Varanasi DM said, “I have only followed rules and I have not taken on anyone. If things are interepeted as such there is little I can do.”
Yadav also flatly denied allegations that he has close links with the ruling Yadav family.
“My in-laws stay in Patna and I have met Ram Gopal Yadav only once,” the Varanasi DM said.
Meanwhile, the Congress today attacked the Election Commission for not acting against the BJP for holding a roadshow despite its permission in Varanasi.
“Why is CEC not acting against BJP ? Notice to the Faizabad BJP candidate is not enough,” Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh tweeted this morning.
Singh also extended his support to the Varanasi DM and accused the BJP of unnecessarily politicising the issue.
“Banaras DM is impartial. Banaras was bombed Banaras was flooded where was BJP? We support our DM,” he further tweeted.