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Lalu seeks two ECs' resignation

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Last updated on: May 07, 2005 18:21 IST

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on Saturday demanded the resignation of Election Commissioners B B Tandon and N Gopalaswamy on the ground that the two had forced a re-election in Chapra assembly constituency under pressure from the then deputy prime minister, Lal Kishenchand Advani.

Tandon is slated to take over as chief election commissioner on May 16.

Addressing a press conference in Patna, Lalu and his party colleague Shivanand Tiwari read out a letter written by senior Indian Administrative Service officer, L P Saptrishi, who was then a special observer in Chapra.

In the letter, addressed to Union Law Minister H R Bharadwaj, Saptrishi has given a detailed account of his explanation on conducting the elections in Chapra.

"My conscience will not permit me to keep quiet and hence I am writing this letter to inform you that the appointment of Tandon as CEC and the continuation of Gopalaswamy as EC would be extremely undesirable in the interest of fair play, justice, democracy and impartial conduct of future elections," the letter said.

Belonging to the West Bengal cadre, Saptrishi is now director general of the Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology and is due to retire in a couple of months.

Saptrishi claimed that though CEC T S Krishnamurthy was not in favour of re-election, Tandon and Gopalaswamy over-ruled him.

There was no reaction from the Election Commission on the charges levelled by the official.

Demanding the reconstitution of the EC, Lalu alleged that the two commissioners had conspired to prevent him from entering Parliament.

He said his party would raise the issue in Parliament.

"When we cry foul, nobody cares. Nobody listens to us. But here is a letter written by a senior IAS officer, who had been appointed by the CEC as observer in Chapra," Lalu said.


Onkar Singh in New Delhi