PC's jibe: Modi will declare Gujarat poll dates

PC's jibe: Modi will declare Gujarat poll dates”

Veteran Congress leader and former finance minister, P Chidambaram, on Friday took a potshot at the country's Election Commission for not announcing the dates for Gujarat elections. He added, "EC will be recalled from its extended holiday after Gujarat government has announced all concessions and freebies".

The Congress has alleged that incumbent chief election commissioner AK Joti was pressurized by Prime Minister Modi and the ruling BJP government at the Centre to defer an announcement over the Gujarat elections to help the saffron party announce some sops for voters before the model code of conduct for polls kicks in.

He wrote, "EC has authorised PM to announce date of Gujarat elections at his last rally (and kindly keep EC informed)".

The EC had on 12 October had announced that polling for the assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh will take place on 9 November, but refused to announce dates for Gujarat polls. However, it only announced dates for the Himachal polls and said that Gujarat polls would be held before 18 Dec.This announcement of the EC was criticised by the opposition alleging that it had deliberately delayed the announcement of the dates for Gujarat polls due to pressure from BJP.

The BJP has dismissed the Congress allegation as "absurd", with Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad slamming the opposition party for "questioning the prudence of the Election Commission". The Election Commission's decision to not announce the poll schedules for the two states simultaneously breaks from the poll panel's convention of declaring elections together for assemblies whose terms end within six months of each other.

Speaking at the sidelines of a function to mark the release of a short film "Muntazar" by the J&K social welfare department, Singh said all the constitutional bodies, including the Election Commission, had enjoyed absolute freedom and autonomy without any interference since the day the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014.

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