The Election Commission failed to get information from the BSP-led Uttar Pradesh government on reasons for erecting statues of party chief Mayawati and party symbol elephant in the state. The information was first sought in March 2010 in a plea filed by Kamal Kant Jaiswal seeking freezing of
BSP’s election symbol, which he termed as unfair electoral practice.
The EC dismissed the petition on Tuesday — despite not getting any reply from the state — on the ground that it was not in a position to gauge the impact of elephant statues erected by UP government on voters.
Initially, the state had sought more time to furnish information and later refused it, raising question of jurisdiction of the EC. The commission disagreed with the state’s views.
The EC noted the state refused to give information, which can be accessed under the Right To Information Act. “It is incongruous that a constitutional authority should choose to deny basic factual information of the nature sought in the case, which can be accessed even by a common citizen,” it said.
However, the BSP filed its reply, in which it took a stand similar to the state government. It said that it cannot be penalised for action taken by the state government.
“The statues of the elephant and leaders of BSP have been erected by the state government and not by the party,” BSP said, adding that all approvals for spending the money for the structures were taken.
The EC, however, expressed surprise at the jurisdiction contention saying that the Constitution has given its powers to ensure that elections are conducted in fair manner and is not confined to election period as contended by BSP.
The EC, however, gave relief to petitioners saying that steps will be taken to see that the statues of Mayawati and BSP’s symbol ‘elephant’ do not disturb the level playing field and give undue advantage to BSP.