President should remove Navin Chawla: BJP

January 31st, 2009 - 4:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Saturday appealed to President Pratibha Patil to take immediate action for removing Election Commissioner Navin Chawla in the “interests of the constitution and democracy”.The BJP reaction follows a reported move by Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami recommending to the president to remove the poll panel official on grounds of his being partisan.

“The Election Commission is now mired in controversy. In the backdrop of the general elections, the Election Commission’s credibility could be suspect,” said BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy.

“The president should intervene and take immediate action for removal of Navin Chawla as it is in the interests of the constitution and democracy,” Rudy said.

The BJP had submitted a petition to then president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2006 seeking the removal of Chawla. It had approached the apex court on the issue, but to no avail. The petition was withdrawn in 2007.

Gopalaswami’s reported decision has sparked a storm in legal circles, with opinion divided if the head of the election panel acted wisely or not - particularly with only months left for his own retirement on April 20 and the Lok Sabha polls due in April-May.

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