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Ethics, transparency, Gandhi — the profound issues EC Ashok Lavasa has been tweeting about

Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa hasn’t said a word about controversies involving him & his family. But he’s been tweeting regularly on a range of issues.

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New Delhi: Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, who has been under scrutiny of the Narendra Modi government along with his family, has said little about his troubles in public.

But he has been quite active on Twitter, choosing to express his thoughts and insights on a range of issues — from the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi to constitutional values, transparency in governance and the need for ethical anchors.

Lavasa is next in line to head India’s election panel after incumbent Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora retires in 2021.

But he has been buffeted by controversy since he dissented against the EC decision to give clean chits to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah in alleged cases of model code of conduct violations during the Lok Sabha election campaign earlier this year.

On 13 November, when reports emerged that the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) wrote to CEC Arora apprising him of alleged tax evasions by Lavasa’s family, the election commissioner Tweeted he was re-reading Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography — “a great source of strength and learning”.

“I’m rereading Gandhiji’s autobiography,a great source of strength &learning.His erudition helped his living.What he read was not merely to enhance his knowledge but because he could apply it in his life.His learning reflects in his living & his living led to a lot of his learning,” Lavasa posted.

A day later, he tweeted that “accountability, and not authority is the basis of the rule of law”. The tweet was posted on the day the Supreme Court ruled that the Chief Justice of India’s office should come under the ambit of the Right to Information Act.

During the Lok Sabha elections this year, Lavasa was reported to have dissented against the decision of the Election Commission to give clean chits to Modi and Shah in alleged cases of model code of conduct violations. He had then publicly taken exception to the fact that his dissents were not recorded by the poll body.

Lavasa and his family have since been caught in controversies after the Income Tax Department and the Modi government initiated several inquiries against them for suspected tax evasion and misuse of official authority.

While Lavasa has declined to comment on the reports involving him and his family, he has been using Twitter to emphasise the importance of constitutional and ethical values in public life.


Also read: ‘There is a time to speak up and be quiet’: CEC Sunil Arora on Ashok Lavasa’s public dissent


‘Truth and lies’

Earlier this month, Ashok Lavasa tweeted “‘सच घटे या बढ़े तो सच न रहे झूट की कोई इंतिहा ही नहीं’ — कृष्ण बिहारी नूर (If the truth is meddled with, it ceases to be the truth. Lies, on the other hand, have no boundaries: Krishna Bihari Noor.)”

On Constitution Day, 26 November, Lavasa posted, “No better day than Today to pledge and rededicate ourselves to that spirit so that the din of a few doesn’t drown the dreams of true democracy.”

Again emphasising the importance of the Constitution, Lavasa Wednesday tweeted, “Each passing day reinforces the belief that without the ethical anchor we are likely to sink. We need ethics to protect our constitution, our laws, our health, our society and our ethos. The mightiest of ships use an anchor to keep afloat in deep oceans.”


Also read: Caste no bar, class no bar, art no bar: Justice Chandrachud on why freedom and art are soulmates


 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Gandhi ji is relevant to bureaucracy, then last 70 years, what service has been done by this elite group to common people. It is “as is where is”. Truth should come out. One can Find out from MoEFCC days very recent one.

  2. Good luck to him. But, Gandhi’s autobiography a source of strength or inspiration?! One cannot find a more boring and pompous book than that autobiography. See the title”My Experiments with Truth” as though he held a monopoly on practising truthfulness.

  3. A system in which a mandarin like Shri Ashok Lavasa gets appointed to the ECI offers hope for the future. He will make an excellent CEC.

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