Days after Congress alleged Election Commission helping BJP, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani says poll panel helped Congress in 2012

Rupani’s remarks stem from the EC’s controversial break from convention last week as it did not simultaneously announce polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, although the terms of the two state assemblies expire within two weeks of each other.

Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi | Updated: October 16, 2017 9:23 am
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THE ELECTION Commission (EC) got caught in a political slugfest on Sunday with Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani accusing the poll panel of acting at the behest of the Congress ahead of the last state elections in 2012.

Rejecting the charge, V S Sampath, who oversaw the conduct of the Gujarat polls as the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) in 2012, called Rupani’s remark “unfair” and “uncharitable”.

According to a PTI report, Rupani, who was speaking at an event organised by India TV news channel in Ahmedabad, said: “In 2012 (Assembly elections), the Election Commission ensured, at the behest of the Congress, that the model code of conduct was in force for a record time to prevent (Narendra) Modiji from working, because of which the state government could not take up development work.”

In 2012, Sampath had simultaneously announced polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh on October 3. The model code of conduct, at that time, was in force for 83 days. Nasim Zaidi and H S Brahma were his colleagues in the Election Commission then.

Defending the poll panel’s decision, Sampath told The Indian Express on Sunday: “The Election Commission follows the highest traditions of independence and has never compromised in its constitutional duties. It’s very unfair and uncharitable to make such a remark after a lapse of five years from the last election.”

Brahma, too, denied that the EC had acted under any influence in 2012. “Yes, the model code of conduct period was long, but it’s wrong to say that we acted under some party’s influence.” Zaidi declined to comment on the matter.

Also Read: Gujarat poll dates delayed, sops and relief flood Banaskantha

Rupani’s remarks stem from the EC’s controversial break from convention last week as it did not simultaneously announce polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, although the terms of the two state assemblies expire within two weeks of each other.

While former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi had said that the decision raised “serious questions”, the Congress, the leading Opposition party in Gujarat, alleged that the BJP had pushed the EC to delay the announcement.

Also Read | Battle for Gujarat: Without Modi in the race

The EC normally holds elections together in states where the incumbent governments are completing their five-year term within six months. The poll dates for these states are announced simultaneously.

For instance, earlier this year, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand went to polls together. Their poll schedule, spread over a month from February 4 to March 8, were all announced on January 4. Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti was a member of the EC even then.

Joti told reporters that the Gujarat announcement was delayed to avoid an unreasonably long imposition of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in the state. Although he dismissed any link between the Commission’s decision to announce Gujarat polls later and BJP’s Gujarat Gaurav Yatra scheduled on October 16, which Modi is expected to attend, the Congress alleged that the PM was visiting the state “as a false Santa Claus to announce sops and jumlas that he didn’t implement for 22 years.”

Also Read: EC junked past practices to help BJP, says Congress

Rupani’s remarks on Sunday were in response to Congress’s allegations. “Congress was complaining that the BJP will advance election because of the UP result… we are not interfering in the process of the Election Commission… we are not delaying elections… It is my responsibility to work for the public till the last day. Until the EC declares dates of elections, we will keep working for the public. There is nothing wrong in it. It is our right to work until the dates are declared,” the Chief Minister said.

— With ENS inputs from Ahmedabad

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  1. P
    Oct 16, 2017 at 3:33 pm
    It is a ridiculous statement from Rupani. It means that what ever wrongful practices Congress indulged during its rules, BJP will also indulge in similar kind of wrong practices including corruption as will give alibi of Congress. It is very shameful for the Indian democracy and a fraud on Indian voters.
    1. M
      Oct 16, 2017 at 1:05 pm
      so thats what is bharatheeyatha is all about kill ins utions one by one and do all manipulations to win and then say vandemaathram !!! Second time people voted for change and failed !!!
      1. T
        Oct 16, 2017 at 1:04 pm
        EC is not honest as it claims especially at State level where officials are known to bend backwards to please the Government of the day. Recall in TN bye election to R.K.Nagar was called off with just 48 hours from polling to begin on the grounds that Rs 89 crores were deployed by ruling faction to lure voters. till date no effort has been made to question the suspects named and shared in media by EC and now washes off its hand by claiming it is for the police to investigate. Similarly thumb impression of an authorised authority who was in coma was collected and accepted by EC official who now claims that relevent papers were collected bearing thumb impression on good faith as it was submitted by an appointed dummy piece which will not stand good in a court of law. Similarly EC officials at State level compromise safety of polling officials when any untoward happens at polling booth
        1. S
          Oct 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm
          they shouldn't be erased from book, but etched in mind of coming generations as synonym of barbarism, not only them the entire islamic rule was dark age of india and peoples mind should go dark on mere hearing about it, we need this level of penetration so to secure sustainable development of our country in long term.
          1. S
            Oct 16, 2017 at 1:03 pm
            instead of so called "akbar the great" ,"babur the barber" should be the catch phrase for that period
          2. S
            Oct 16, 2017 at 12:28 pm
            So gentleman, now u agree. That election comission can be compromised. So all elections after 2014 in which BJP won must have been compromised for BHP, ruling party at centre and what about 2014 elections? They were also compromised? RAJNATHJee, take serious note of this. Ur party CM accused of elections to gujarat assembly in 2012 were compromised.and. U keep silent?
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