The Election Commission has defended its order to cover statues of Mayawati and elephants in UP and lashed out at the chief minister for attributing anti-casteist motives to its January 8 directive. Rejecting BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra’s plea that EC reconsider its decision as the statues were erected with “party funds,” the poll panel, in a strongly-worded statement, said “the order is in accordance with the law and in keeping with its constitutional mandate for ensuring level playing field during the elections with the objective of ensuring free and fair polls. The commission reminded BSP about a complaint it received in 2009 seeking freezing of the elephant symbol on account of its misuse through erection of elephant statues across the state.
“The commission, in its order of 11 October, 2010, while not accepting the request, had made it clear that at the time of elections, the commission would take appropriate measures to see that the statues do not disturb the level playing field,” it said. “Looking from whatever rules, facts and reasoning, the step to cover the statues was the most appropriate and available option before the Commission.”
Taking exception to Mayawati’s critical remarks against EC, the commission said it was truly disturbed that she had attributed anti-Dalit and casteist motives to the order. “The commission regrets that such an allegation was made and rejects the allegation. It expects a higher sense of responsibility and constitutional decorum from major political parties and their leaders.”