Is a man who dares the Election Commission to file a second case against him fit to be India's next prime minister? In an election speech in Asansol in West Bengal on Sunday, Narendra Modi said that the EC was not acting impartially against violence and rigging in the polls in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal on April 30. That was a very serious accusation, but it came without specifics about  constituencies and polling booth numbers.

This indiscretion followed the FIR that was filed against the politician for allegedly violating election laws by displaying his party symbol and making a speech in a polling booth after he cast his vote in Gandhinagar on April 30. Instead of tendering an apology, Modi decided to use the EC notice as the opportunity to play victim.

Despite minor flaws in the voting process, the EC has fulfilled its duties magnificently. Its autonomy and lack of bias are not open to question. By slinging mud at this most respected of institutions, Modi is only undermining the health of our democracy, even as his campaign claims that he will deliver more efficient governance.

As if that wasn't enough, Modi displayed another sign of imprudence by blaming the victims of violence for their own predicament. When 32 Muslims were shot dead in Assam's Bodo areas last week, the prime ministerial candidate decided to raise the bogey of "illegal Bangladeshi migrants". It was unclear why he thought anyone – citizen or migrant, legal or illegal –  deserved to be shot dead by militants.

Whether Modi wins or loses, he would do well to understand that very little is required to confirm the world's worst suspicions about him. For now, the BJP leader needs to show the grace and maturity expected of a potential prime minister.