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BJP demands firm action against Chawla
Onkar Singh in New Delhi
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January 31, 2009 11:32 IST
Last Updated: January 31, 2009 17:43 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party has sought the immediate removal of Election Commissioner Navin Chawla from his post, after Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami, in a letter to President Pratibha Patil [Images], recommended the unprecedented step.

At a press briefing in Delhi [Images] on Saturday, party general secretary Arun Jaitley pointed out that even the Supreme Court had ruled that barring the CEC, other election commissioners could be removed from their offices, on the basis of the findings of the CEC.

"The second proviso Article 324 clearly states that any Election Commissioner or Regional Commissioner shall not be removed from office except on the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner," Jaitley said as he read out the observations made on the matter by the apex court.

"I think this is the first time that an incident of this nature has taken place. My own interpretation is that the recommendations of the CEC are binding as we cannot have a biased person conducting the Lok Sabha election," he said. The BJP had earlier complained against Chawla to the Election Commission, alleging that he is close to the Congress.

"The government must immediately accept the recommendations of the CEC and pass a formal order for the removal of Navin Chawla. He should be immediately disassociated from any activity connected to the forthcoming general elections," Jaitley said.

When queried if Chawla might seek legal recourse in the matter, Jaitley said, "Everyone has the right to do so".

He refused to give further details about the BJP's course of action if the government doesn't accept the CEC's recommendations. "Why should we give details to you? But we shall take the case to its logical end," he declared.

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