The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) does not impede emergency relief work and thus announcement of election dates for Gujarat should not have been postponed, former Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla told The Indian Express on Tuesday.
Reacting to the controversy that stemmed from the EC’s decision to not simultaneously declare polls for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Chawla said, “It is clear that the decision was taken unanimously by the full Commission. I do not know all the facts, but public perception is very important for the Election Commission. There have been many occasions in the past when, because of a flood or earthquake or other natural calamities, elections in some constituencies have been postponed. But the issue of flood relief in Gujarat seems to have been made clear to the country a little late. Moreover, the Model Code of Conduct does not impede emergency relief work.”
“Therefore, the unfortunate impression has gained ground that elections to two states are being considered differently, especially as both Assembly terms end within two weeks of each other in January 2018,” Chawla said. “It has become customary in the last many years to club elections wherever possible. This should have been done in this case too.”
Chawla headed the EC from April 21, 2009 to July 29, 2010. He is the third former CEC to question the EC decision to not announce polls together for the two states.