Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday criticised the Election Commission saying that by not announcing the Gujarat poll schedule, it has “authorised” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the dates at his last rally, after all “freebies” for the state were doled out. The former finance and home minister also claimed the Election Commission will be “recalled” from its “extended holiday” after the Gujarat government has announced all “concessions and freebies”.
“EC has authorised PM to announce date of Gujarat elections at his last rally (and kindly keep EC informed),” he tweeted. The EC had on October 12 announced that polling for the assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh will take place on November 9, but held off announcing the Gujarat schedule. The EC had just said the polling in the western state would be held before December 18. The Congress had alleged that the government put
“pressure” on the poll panel to “delay” the announcement of Gujarat assembly poll schedule to enable the prime minister to act as a “false santa claus” and offer sops, use “jumlas” (rhetoric) during his October 16 visit to his home state.
The model code of conduct would have come into immediate effect in Gujarat had the poll schedule been announced along with Himachal Pradesh, the party had said. Hitting back at the Congress for targeting the EC, BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said allegations levelled against the constitutional body were without any basis. “It is absolutely absurd. It’s like questioning the prudence of the EC. The Congress is perhaps speaking out of its own experience where interference in the functioning of constitutional bodies used to be a thing in their rule. Such is not the case since 2014,” he had said.
“Let me also add, this tells that they are jittery about BJP’s prospects in the state,” Prasad had said.