The Election Commission expressed ‘surprise’ and ‘disappointment’ over the BJP's decision to go ahead with the protests in Varanasi.

In a letter to the Election Commission, BJP leader Arun Jaitley announced the party's intention to call off all Modi's programmes in the temple city except a visit to the main office after his rally in Rohaniya on the outskirts.

"We will be holding a protest both in Varanasi and in front of your office at 11 am tomorrow. For that action, we do not require your permission,” BJP leader Arun Jaitley said in a letter to the Election Commission yesterday.

"Narendra Modi when he arrives in Varanasi city, will be going to the election office and then to the airport. He will be in his unusual motorcade," Jaitley added.

Later replying to Jaitley, the Election Commission said the protests were announced despite the poll body trying to resolve the matter ‘in accordance with law and the ground situation’.

Principal Secretary in the Election Commission, RK Srivastava, said while earlier a BJP representative Vidyasagar Rai had requested for an alternative site on May 6, Jaitley later urged the returning officer not to process the permission.

"In the whole matter, the Commission decided not to go by the version conveyed by the district magistrate alone, but consulted the UP Chief Secretary and the DGP, who endorsed the security and suitability aspects including capacity of the ground (in Veeniya Bagh), raised by the district officials,” the letter said.

"You will appreciate that the Commission cannot overlook the security concerns expressed by competent authorities," the letter added.

The letter said the Commission has given prompt attention to any issue raised by political parties, including BJP, over the ongoing elections.

"Hence the Commission is surprised and disappointed that your party has chosen to hold protests over the matter, which was being sought to be resolved in accordance with law and ground realities," it said.


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