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Brahma justifies denial of permission for Modi rally


New Delhi, May 9 :

Election Commissioner H.S.Brahma Friday backed Varanasi District Magistrate Pranjal Yadav’s decision not to allow a rally of Narendra Modi in the city Thursday but said there should be no delay in conveying such decisions.

He also said that exit polls cannot be telecast before May 16, the day of counting for Lok Sabha elections.

HS Brahma, Election Commissioner
HS Brahma, Election Commissioner

Interacting with media persons at the Indian Women’s Press Corps here, Brahma said that poll officials at the ground level should take early decisions and communicate them to the parties concerned.

Asked if there was a delay in the decision by the returning officer of Varanasi on the permission for programmes sought by the Bharatiya Janata Party, he said: “This is what I am telling you.”

He said if a prompt decision is taken at the lower level, there would be no need for political parties to approach the Election Commission.

“Why should anybody (come) to Election Commission for what can be done by local thanedar (police station house officer),” Brahma said.

The BJP has protested the poll panel’s decision to deny permission to Modi, the party’s prime ministerial candidate and its nominee in Varanasi, to hold a rally in Beniabagh, citing security concerns.

Brahma said the area where permission for a rally had been sought by the BJP was congested.

“The returning officer said that it will not be appropriate (to hold a rally). But there should not be delay in taking a decision,” he said.

Answering a query about information from Gujarat Police officials, Brahma said “a senior level official” had also said that “this particular meeting was not desirable.”

BJP has demanded transfer of Yadav “to ensure free and fair elections”.

Thousands of BJP supporters had protested in Varanasi and New Delhi Thursday against the Election Commission’s curb on the Beniabagh rally.

Asked if exit polls can be telecast after the last phase polling for the Lok Sabha election May 12, Brahma said there could be a re-poll in some constituencies.

“(There will be) no exit poll before May 16,” he said.