‘Communal speech’: Poll panel shielding Vastanvi, says Rupala

BJP national vice-president Parshottam Rupala has accused the Election Commission of "shielding" former Darul Uloom Deoband vice-chancellor Maulana Ghulam Vastanvi in connection with his speech delivered at a meeting of Congress minority cell in Surat on October 21.

In a letter, Rupala has urged the EC to follow the provisions of Article 324 of the Constitution (free and fair elections) in this matter.

Vastanvi had allegedly delivered a speech that could provoke religious sentiments and hitting the spirit of peace and religious harmony in the state.

"The BJP strongly condemns the Commission adopting the policy of shielding Vastanvi by ignoring the demand of BJP legal cell (October 23) plea to the Commission for legal action," said a BJP release quoting from Rupala's letter.

Notices were issued to others present at the Tadkeshwar meet like Kadir Peerzada, Maksud Kazi and Maulana Faiyaz Laturi but "on what ground and logic did the commission spare the one (Vastanvi) who spewed anti-Gujarat venom and did conspiratorial work of provoking religious sentiments?" said Rupala.

He urged the Commission to clear doubts over its own conduct of ensuring free and fair elections and sought action against all those who had urged people to vote for the Congress by provoking religious sentiments.

EC team arrives to take stock of preparedness

Ahmedabad: Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath along with election commissioners H S Brahma and Nasim Zaidi, deputy commissioners Vinod Zutshi and P K Dash, arrived in the city on Sunday to review election preparations in Gujarat, an official said.

They will hold a series of meetings from Monday with state officials, representatives of political parties, police commissioners and district collectors, a state EC official said.

The elections will be held in two phases on December 13 and 17 and counting of votes will be done on December 20.

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