New Delhi: Outgoing Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath has no regrets about the decision to go by the district authorities in the high-profile Varanasi constituency where a BJP rally of Narendra Modi was refused during the Lok Sabha polls last year.
“The question of avoiding does not arise. Election is an exercise in level-playing field. Whatever may be the stature of the persons involved, it is the duty of the EC to deal with the situation without getting unduly affected by the stature of the personalities,” he said as he demitted office today.
Sampath was answering a question on the difficult moments when he declined to intervene in a decision taken by the district authorities in Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency where Narendra Modi was denied permission for a public meeting in a communally-sensitive area during the May general elections.
“When you come across something which has to be dealt with in certain way, as per law, it has to be done. The EC cannot have a rethink or double think on these matters,” he said.
Sampath explained whatever was done relating to the public meeting was strictly as per law, as per judgement of the people who are entitled to exercise their judgement. “The EC, unless it has some overriding reasons, will not doubt the decision-making capabilities of the people when they have taken all relevant factors into account like security aspect of the VIP,” he explained.
Asked whether he had any regrets over what he had done, he said “No, none.”