Raising questions about the impartiality of the Election Commission ahead of Lok Sabha polls, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi [ Images ] said on Wednesday the EC should prove by its deeds that it was a neutral body.
Karunanidhi's remarks came in the context of certain adverse comments by Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami [ Images ] and state Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta during the recent bypoll from Tirumangalam assembly constituency. Writing in party organ Murasoli, the chief minister said he was raising the issue to generate a public debate on acts of the poll officials.
The DMK patriarch also questioned the timing of the Tirumangalam bypoll held in January. He said EC had ordered Tirumangalam bypoll in January even though the Parliament elections were expected soon at that time, going against the normal practice of clubbing both together in such situations. The EC had ordered the state government to remove certain police officers from the constituency on the very day some opposition parties demanded their transfer. "This alone showed how impartial the EC was," he said in a sarcastic comment.
Karunanidhi said Gupta went one step further to say there were lot of electoral malpractices and violence when there was no clashes and he could not "betray" the EC. In an obvious dig at Gopalaswamy, he said a top official, who was supposed to be impartial, had said Tirumangalam bypoll had become "a blot on democracy". "Can this be construed as influencing the voters?" he asked.