Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi cast his vote in Gujarat assembly polls and walked on the streets of Ahmedabad greeting people, Congress on Monday pointed it out as a violation of the model code of conduct and hit out at the Election Commission (EC) for ignoring the alleged violation.
The Congress also said that it is taking advice for taking legal route on the issue.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, Congress leader Pawan Khera said, “Over the last several weeks, we have seen the total inaction, the total silence of the watchdog of our democracy, the watchdog of our elections, that’s the Election Commission of India.”
He said that the Congress has been making representations to the poll panel at various levels.
“Every second or third day we have made some representations or the other in Gujarat in Delhi, but, I am afraid the Election Commission looks like it is willingly under pressure,” he alleged.
Taking a jibe at the Prime Minister for walking and greeting people after voting, Khera said, “Today is the second and the last round of polling in Gujarat. During the process of the polling, the Prime Minister, who goes to give his vote in Ahmedabad, decides to do a road show, two and a half hours, covered live by all our channels, free of cost, is this not an advertisement.”
He said: “We will take necessary steps, and prevail upon the Election Commission of India through whatever means possible, legal means possible, to ensure that such publicity comes under the purview of election expenditure of the party, which undertakes this publicity, which forces you to run these road shows live, especially when the election is underway.”
He even pointed out how one of the Congress MLA Kantibhai Kharadi wrote to the poll panel seeking additional security, because he apprehended a threat to his life.
“By evening he was attacked by 24 people, mostly goons of the BJP. I have no qualms in admitting this, in sharing this with you, and he had to take cover of the forest at night, where we finally rescued him at 2:33 a.m. in the morning,” Khera alleged.
He also charged that the Election Commission did not pay timely attention to his pleas. “We have also shared time and again visuals of BJP distributing liquor in a state, where there is a prohibition, openly, shamelessly and distributing liquor in their vehicles with BJP logos on the vehicles. They are not afraid,” the Congress leader said.
He also said that the logo of Gujarat government should now be Kamal (Lotus), the election symbol of the BJP, that’ the situation of the governance in Gujarat, that’s the situation of the election machinery in Gujarat.
Voting for the second phase on 93 assembly seats took place during the day in Gujarat. Earlier on December 1, voting for 89 seats took place.
The Congress, which has been in power in the state since 1995 is trying hard to dethrone the BJP in the state, which is also the home state of Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Meanwhile, the BJP is trying to secure a consecutive seventh term in the state, where it has been in power for the last 27 years.
Counting of votes will take place on December 8.