ANI Photo | INDIA bloc leaders meet ECI, raise objection against ‘targeting’ of opposition leaders

After Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in the excise policy case, INDIA bloc leaders met with the Election Commission of India on Friday and demanded its intervention in the “targeting of opposition leaders” by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party through the “misuse of central agencies”.
The representation to the ECI was made by Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal, Abhishek Singhvi, NCP (SCP) leader Jitendra Awhad, CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury, TMC MP Derek O Brien and several other leaders.
After meeting the Election Commission, Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said that a level playing field is needed for elections, but the ruling party is not allowing that, which has had an impact of free and fair elections.
“Almost every opposition party is here. This incident happened late at night (arrest of Delhi CM). We had a detailed discussion with the election commission. This isn’t about an individual or any party but it relates to the basic structure of the constitution. When a level playing field is needed for an election and you do not let the field be leveled by misusing agencies, it impacts free and fair elections and ultimately democracy,” he said.
Singhvi also informed that it has submitted evidence of the misuse of agencies by the ruling party to the poll body.
“The Election Commission has been given the responsibility and is the police to protect this level field. We asked the Election Commission to interfere. In the history of 75 years of independent India, the first time a sitting CM has been arrested. The accounts of the grand old and the biggest opposition party have been frozen. We have given evidence of the misuse of agencies against the opposition leaders. We asked, if the election commission can change the DGP secretary, then why does it not control these agencies?” he said.
The letter submitted to the poll body by the INDIA on Friday asserted that “arrests, of individuals holding Constitutional posts are clearly intended to have a stifling and deleterious effect on the democratic functioning of the affairs of their respective states, as well as the parties themselves”.
The letter further read, “It is a move that is deliberately designed to demotivate and demoralise the members of these parties and the opposition at large. These arrested individuals, one of whom is the National Convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party, and the other is the Working President of Jharkhand, Mukti Morcha, are elected leaders of our country who have championed the cause of those on the margins of our society, including our brothers and sisters belonging to the tribal communities.
“Their arrests are meant to send a message straight to the voter. That the ruling regime will not countenance any real opposition to its electoral ambitions,” it added.
Alleging that the BJP is freezing the Congress bank accounts ahead of the polls, the letter stated that these “malafide and egregious acts of freezing bank accounts followed by forceful recoveries, have been done with the intention of disadvantaging the principal opposition party from running an unfettered election campaign for the Lok Sabha”.
Meanwhile, CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury who was also part of INDIA delegation, said that without a level playing field, democracy is nothing.
“The process of election has begun. The model code of conduct is in force; despite that such actions (Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest) are being taken, which is destroying the level playing field. Without a level playing field, democracy is nothing. If the Election Commission keeps control over the police and the administration, then why not on central agencies; They have to think about it,” he said.
NCP-SCP leader Jitendra Awhad also urged the Election Commission to intervene against the misuse of central agencies.
“We are asking the Election Commission, which is the highest body during the election, to intervene. People are slowly but surely losing faith in every agency. This is the death of democracy,” he said.
High voltage drama unfolded on Thursday late night when the ED arrested Kejriwal in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy case linked to a money laundering case. The case pertains to alleged irregularities and money laundering in framing and implementing the Delhi excise policy case 2022, which was later scrapped

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