Countering the open letter written by a group of retired civil servants who had raised doubts over the conduct of the Election Commission of India, a group of 81 people comprising civil servants, defence officers, judges, academicians and professionals have written to the President saying that the letter by the former group had undermined a constitutional authority of the nation. They have also questioned at whose behest the group of civil servants wrote the first letter, claiming that it was devoid of facts.
Reposing their trust in the EC, they said:
"EC has been time tested and has established its credibility not only in India but also across the world. This gives rise to the suspicion that a deliberate attempt is being made by groups with vested interests to denigrate such institutions of democracy by undermining their position. Slurs being laid against the Election Commission of India, and casting aspersions on its neutrality and ability to hold free and fair elections, appears to be a part of the longer design to influence its decision making and to make it conform to a particular line of behaviour and thought."
Doubting the first letter's motive, the second letter claimed that it had focused only on a few political leaders and their speeches, in a time when leaders across the nation, belonging to all parties are delivering grave and divisive speeches. Further, on the recent demand of VVPAT-based audits of EVMs, the second letter said that it was an act to influence decision making of the Supreme Court and reflected the partisan nature of the retired civil servants as they did not question the EVMs when opposition parties won in the end-2018 assembly elections.
Dismissing the question on the EC against the timing of the announcement of the Anti-satellite test by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the letter by 81-civil servants said that the first letter had paid no heed to the strategic importance of the event and highlighted that it had secured India's entry into a select club with Russia, China and US.
The second group of civil servants also alleged that the first group was successful in motivating the EC's decision-making as the decision to ban Vivek Oberoi's 'PM Narendra Modi' biopic's release came after their letter was released. It also accused them of hindering the freedom of expression as they have tried to stop the ten-part web series "Modi: A Common Man's Journey'', despite its first five episodes being screened before the MCC came into effect.
Here is the complete letter:
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