Criticism of constitutional bodies weakens democratic system:Cong

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New Delhi, Feb 4 (UNI) The Congress today said the BJP's criticism of Election Commissioner Navin Chawla was nothing but a repeat of its general tendency of mounting "assaults" on constitutional bodies." "The BJP has been assaulting constitutional bodies like the Election Commission, Judiciary and the CAG. Such a tendency on the part of the main opposition will only weaken the democratic system," AICC Spokesman Abishek Manu Singvi told mediapersons here.

The BJP yesterday expressed serious concern over the Centre's decision to seek an amendment in the Constitution to ''ostensibly'' create parity between the three members of the Election Commission and also to make the petition regarding removal of Election Commissioner Navin Chawla ''infructuous''.

In a statement here, BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley had said his party had sought the removal of Mr Chawla from the Election Commission in accordance with the provisions of Article 324(5) of the Constitution.

Mr Jaitley said the removal had been sought on the ground of the partisan conduct of Mr Chawla before his acquiring the membership of the Election Commission and also during his functioning as a Member of the poll body.

Dr Singhvi said the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) would not be able to remove the Election Commissioners. He could only recommend removal of the EC.

Likewise, if the government had to remove an EC, it has to get the recommendation of the CEC.

Dr Singhvi also denied the BJP's allegation that the statement of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee that India would face global isolation if the country did not sign the Indo-US nuclear deal was at variance with that of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who had said that it would not be the end of the world if India was not to sign the deal.

Reacting to Mr Mukherjee's statement in Kolkata, he said the statement was made at a seminar.

He said the negotiations with the IAEA as part of operationalising the Indo-US Nuclear deal were progressing. In fact, the negotiations began as part of an agreement between the UPA government and the supporting Left parties whose representatives constitute the Left-UPA panel on the nuke deal.

UNI SH RR HT2057

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