Why delay in Gujarat poll dates, Election Commission must explain: JD(U)’s Pavan Varma

The JD(U), a member of the ruling National Democratic Alliance, is currently governing Gujarat in alliance with the BJP.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 16, 2017 2:26 pm
Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti, flanked by Election Commissioners Sunil Arora and O P Rawat (L), announces the schedule for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, at a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI Photo

Janata Dal (United) national general secretary Pavan Varma Monday morning questioned the Election Commission’s decision not to announce dates for elections to the Gujarat Assembly along with that of Himachal Pradesh, saying ‘credible answers were needed’.

Varma, an official spokesperson for the party, tweeted: “EC must not only be impartial but seen to be so. Why have the dates for Gujarat elections not been announced? We need credible answers.”

The JD(U), a member of the ruling National Democratic Alliance, is currently governing Gujarat in alliance with the BJP.

Last Thursday, the Election Commission held a press conference where it announced the schedule for elections to the Himachal Pradesh Assembly but, in a controversial move, refrained from announcing the schedule for Gujarat.

The term of the Gujarat Assembly ends on January 22, 2018, about two weeks after Himachal Pradesh. In the last two decades, the two states have gone to polls simultaneously except in 2002, when Gujarat was hit by riots.

Political slugfest

The Election Commission faced severe criticism from Opposition parties, questioning whether it was acting on the behest of the ruling party. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told the media on Friday, “Within 10 minutes of the Election Commission’s announcement, the Gujarat government (of the BJP) announced sops worth hundreds of crores.” Singhvi said that “past practices, conventions and precedents” were being set aside to help the BJP.

The  BJP, however, said the Congress benefited from a similar decision in 2012. Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani, 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.”

Then Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath, however, rejected the charge, calling Rupani’s remark ‘unfair’ and ‘uncharitable’.

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  1. B
    Bijan Mohanty
    Oct 18, 2017 at 11:26 pm
    Election Commission should not act as a puppet of the Govt. They have a great responsibility on their shoulder.
    1. Sriram Kalpathi
      Oct 17, 2017 at 4:32 pm
      The government will wind up the term of EC and EVM,as they have absolute majority in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Why opt for VRS by EC!!!
      1. A
        Oct 17, 2017 at 12:54 am
        Indian democracy is just on the paper only. It is proved at many instances. Rulling Govt. is playing with Govt. instruments as they wish. people of country is going to do nothing.
        1. Sunny KS
          Oct 16, 2017 at 5:21 pm
          Vermaji reason for delay of Gujarat election is that if PM can go for GAURAVA YATRA why cant EC. So EC members are on a GAURAV YATRA to election mode State
          1. A
            Oct 16, 2017 at 5:14 pm
            Delay in announcement as regards date of polling of Gujarat Assembly indicates that Election Commission (EC) has not acted impartially. But my query is this: Would the Gujarat Assembly election to be held be in December be as per Cons utional provisions or not? If there is no Cons utional violation as regards election conducting election, one may say that we require a law to ensure that EC's actions are impartial.
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