Slamming the Gujarat government for an ordinance to postpone the local body elections, Congress on Sunday said it would challenge the decision in the High Court, if necessary.
The state government on Saturday promulgated an ordinance to put off local bodies elections, citing apprehension that voters would not be “allowed to vote freely and fairly”, a move that is largely seen as provoked by the on-going Patidar agitation for quota. The Gujarat State Election Commission also issued a notification to postpone the polls, citing law and order situation as a reason.
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Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Shankersinh Vaghela and Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki on Sunday held a joint press conference during which they claimed the ruling BJP was afraid of a massive loss in the elections, a result that could hamper its prospects in the Bihar Assembly polls.
“This party (BJP) is adopting double standards. In 2002, the present Prime Minister was Gujarat chief minister. The then election commissioner J M Lyngdoh had visited the state to take stalk of the situation (after the riots). Then the CM has suggested that elections should not be postponed. I want to ask if, the present circumstances are worse than that in 2002,” Vaghela said. He said in most BJP dominated areas, the party was facing boycott.
Vaghela said the ordinance to delay the local body elections was only to preempt any damage to BJP in the Bihar polls. “I am alleging that the decision (to promulgate ordinance) has been got done by the PMO from the CMO,” he said.
He also demanded resignation of Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and dissolution of the government.
The Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly alleged that the State Election Commission acted like a “puppet in the hands of the state government” by delaying the elections immediately after promulgation of the ordinance.
Solanki said the party would leave no stone unturned to make sure that elections were held in time. “If necessary, we will approach the (Gujarat) High Court,” he said.
He said the government’s move was like “delaying today’s death to tomorrow”. “It is to be understood as to under what circumstances the elections could be postponed. It could be done only in cases of natural calamities like drought or excess rainfall,” the Congress leader said.