As Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated various development projects in Gujarat on his third visit to the election-bound state on Sunday, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government should now declare that the last installment of announcements are over so that the Election Commission can announce the poll dates.
“We expect now the Election Commission to announce the schedule of elections unless the government has to make some more announcements. I think they (government) should announce that now the last installment of announcements are over… so that the Election Commission is at least free to announce the elections,” Azad told The Indian Express.
Azad said it was unfortunate that the Election Commission had failed to announce elections to Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat together. “It could be because of pressure from the government because otherwise there was no reason for the EC not to announce the schedule for Himachal and Gujarat together.”
“It has become more obvious as in the past 10 days, ever since the announcement of elections in Gujarat was withheld, the Chief Minister has announced a number of schemes while the Prime Minister has twice announced several schemes…This is perhaps the only reason why announcement of Gujarat elections was withheld. This has not reflected well for the independence of the EC,” he said.
Azad also hit out at the BJP, questioning the Gujarat model.
“The BJP governments, both at the Centre and the state, have exhausted themselves with announcements. They didn’t do anything in the past 22 years… now they are banking on announcements to win the elections… we had been told repeatedly about the Gujarat model…”
“They had been telling us for the past four years that the Gujarat model should be implemented across the country. If the Gujarat model was so popular… which the Prime Minister wanted us to implement across the country… then what is the need for getting the election announcement deferred to make such announcements. That reflect very poorly on development claims in Gujarat… that means they had not done anything for Gujarat in the past 22 years,” he added.
Meanwhile, reacting to the Prime Minister’s statement that the Congress-led UPA government was hostile to him when he was the Chief Minister and had stalled development projects in Gujarat, AICC general secretary in charge of the state Ashok Gehlot said his statement was “a clear proof” that no development had taken place in Gujarat in the past two decades. “And to blame Congress for the same sounds ludicrous,” he tweeted.