"A large part of the energies of the Election Commission is being spent in being an ombudsman in the matter of dissecting political speeches," Jaitley said in a blog on Wednesday.

"The core of the election is a free and fair polling which is being denied through the silent booth capturing. It would be desirable that the EC concentrates its energies in checking this silent booth capturing since that is its principal job," he said.

He also said the speeches were just a ‘side show’.

"These political speeches at times do cross the 'Laxman rekha' (limit). In such cases the person concerned has to be censured. Regrettably most of the air time on television and space in print media reports are being spent in dissecting these controversial speeches. They are at best a side show," he said.

While the commission has mastered the art of controlling booth capturing in the last one decade, in the 2014 general elections in some states, particularly West Bengal and parts of Uttar Pradesh, silent booth capturing has been witnessed, said Jaitley.

"A silent booth capturing is a process where central security forces deployed for election duty are not adequately deployed. The central forces are used for non-essential purposes and polling booths continue to be manned by state police and the Home Guards....,” Jaitley said in his blog.

“Once a coercive environment is created around the polling station by the ruling party, the polling agents of the opposition are scared away. Then it is a free for all in favour of the ruling party,” he added.

(Agencies)

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