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BJP slams law minister's assumption on EC row

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | February 03, 2009 19:17 IST

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Arun Jaitley, general secretary of Bhartiya Janata Party and noted Supreme Court advocate, said that the arguments given by Union Law Minister Hansraj Bhardwaj and several other constitutional experts were wrong in their assumption that since the government was the appointing authority, hence they too have the right to decide about the removal of a constitutional authority.

"Look at the all constitutional posts beginning with the Supreme Court of India, high court judges, Chief Election Commissioner, two election commissioners, Auditor and Controller General and even the Union Public Service Commission members all have to be removed through a certain well laid out procedure. The BJP keeps its options open to go to the Supreme Court. As and when we do so we would inform the media about it," he said.

The all-party meet called by Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami [Images] was attended by almost all the political parties. The CEC sat between ECs Navin Chawla [Images] and S Y Qureshi. Gopalaswami and Chawla even smiled for photographers.

Jaitley lambasted Bhardwaj for indicating that Chawla could be the next CEC. "He has spoken out without giving details of the charges that Gopalaswami has made against Chawla," he said.

Former external affairs minister and BJP leader Jaswant Singh has moved the Supreme Court seeking direction to the government that they should consider charges against Chawla.

"Over 224 MPs and MLAs of National Democratic Alliance had signed a representation against Chawla and given it to former President A P J Abdul Kalam [Images] who had forwarded the same to Prime Minister's Office. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh [Images] refused to even forward it to the CEC. The SC said we could hand over the allegations to CEC himself instead of routing through the President and hence we withdrew the petition and gave the same to N Gopalaswami," Jaitley pointed it out.

He refused to comment on the statement of Sushma Swaraj that all young leaders may be asked to contest elections in order to strengthen the hands of the party's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani [Images]. "We would have to contest if the party decides that we should do so," he said.

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