Allahabad: BJP leader L K Advani on Wednesday cautioned against any attempt to alter the Election Commission of India`s "strong" and "independent" character which was vital for the "survival" of the country`s democracy.
"Our strong and independent Election Commission is vital to our democracy. The reports of the UPA government`s plans to curtail its powers are a matter of grave concern.
"Voices of disapproval are emerging from all sides and many people in the ruling dispensation are also not in favour of such a move," Advani, who was here on a private visit, told reporters.
He was replying to questions on the government`s reported attempt to make the election model code of conduct statutory. The Department of Personnel and Training has, however, issued a statement describing such reports as "misconceived".
"It is essential that a glorious institution like the EC which has been admired by even those from outside the country must not be tampered with and all those who want democracy to survive join hands to thwart any such attempts," he said.
Advani recalled his meeting with former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto at his residence where he had asked her why democracy could not find a strong foothold in her country like in India even though both countries shared a common past.
"Bhutto expressed the opinion that Indian democracy had thrived due to non-political character of Indian Army and a strong and impartial Election
Commission which has ensured that those who had popular backing assumed power," the BJP leader said.