Congress influenced EC in 2012 Gujarat polls to stop Modi: Vijay Rupani
The CM also denied the allegation that the BJP government was interfering with the Election Commission’s decisions.india Updated: Oct 16, 2017 14:20 IST
Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani refuted on Sunday the Congress’ charge that the Election Commission delayed announcing the dates for the assembly election in the western state under the BJP government’s “pressure” and accused the opposition party of influencing the poll panel’s decision in declaring the 2012 polls.
“In 2012 (assembly election), 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 (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji from working, because of which the state government could not take up development work,” Rupani said at an election programme organised in Ahmedabad by news channel India TV.
The poll panel declared the dates for the assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh on Thursday but did not announce those for the Gujarat polls. Chief election commissioner AK Joti said the elections in Gujarat will be held before December 18, when the results of the Himachal polls will be declared.
The Congress on Friday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party for “pressuring” the poll watchdog to delay the announcement of the Gujarat elections and alleged that “past practices, conventions and precedents” were being set aside to help the ruling party in the state.
The opposition party alleged that the “delay” in announcing the election schedule was to enable Prime Minister Narendra Modi to act as a “false Santa Claus” to offer sops and 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, it added.
“Congress was complaining that the BJP will advance the election because of the UP result ... We are not interfering in the process of the Election Commission ... We are not delaying elections,” Rupani said countering the Congress’ allegations.
“It is my responsibility to work for the public till the last day. Until the EC declares dates of elections, we will keep working for the public. There is nothing wrong in it. It is our right to work until the dates are declared,” the chief minister said.
Rupani said the opposition should raise an objection only when there is an interference in the election process.
“It is the right of the EC to declare the model code of conduct ... (The opposition) wants the government to stop working. This is against democratic values,” he said.
Asked whether his party has lost the support of the Patidars, the chief minister said there is no place for the community in Congress.
“The community remains with us, they know where their interest lies. We are withdrawing cases against Patidars not to make them happy, but to resolve the deadlock by sitting with them, hearing their problems,” he said and exuded confidence that Dalits will vote for the party.
Rupani said his government took strong action against the people involved in thrashing Dalits in Una. The government, he added, takes incidents of atrocities on Dalits seriously and immediate action follows against perpetrators.
He was referring to the incident in 2016 when four Dalit men were allegedly beaten up by cow vigilantes at Una town in Gir-Somnath district, triggering uproar across the country.
Rupani said his government does not support those doing wrong in the name of protecting cows.
“We will punish them. And along with this, we are also working for cow protection, and have made the harshest law of life sentence for cow slaughter,” he said.