Congress objects to Modi’s ‘roadshow’, questions ECI’s silence

Published on Dec 05, 2022 03:26 PM IST

BJP spokesperson Tom Vadakkan rejected Congress’s claim about Modi’s roadshow, saying the opposition party wants to be a bad loser

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives to vote in Ahmedabad. (AFP)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives to vote in Ahmedabad. (AFP)
BySaptarshi Das

The Congress on Monday objected to what it called Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “roadshow” as he went to vote in Ahmedabad during the second and last phase of the Gujarat elections while questioning the Election Commission of India (ECI)’s silence over it even as it was shown live on TV for over two hours.

Pawan Khera, who heads Congress’s media wing, alleged the administration and the election machinery were all working closely and rolled into one. “...we have seen total inaction and silence of the ECI. We have been making representations to the ECI in Gujarat and Delhi. But it looks like the ECI is working under pressure.”

Khera questioned news channels for their coverage of the “roadshow”. “The Prime Minister goes to vote in Ahmedabad...for over 2.5 hours [this] was shown live by all news channels free of cost. Should not you be charging the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party]? Why are you doing it for free?”

Khera said they will take necessary steps to prevail upon the ECI through whatever legal means possible to ensure such publicity comes under the purview of the BJP’s election expenditure. “Who forces [TV channels] to run the roadshow live even when the election is underway?”

Khera criticised the ECI for ignoring matters related to the opposition including security risks. “Yesterday [Sunday], our...[lawmaker] Kanti Bhai Kharadi wrote to the ECI for additional security because he apprehended a threat to his life. By evening, he was attacked by 25 goons of the BJP and he had to take cover in a forest where he was rescued at 2:30am. The ECI did not pay any heed.”

Khera hit out at BJP leaders for allegedly distributing liquor day ahead of the second phase of polling in dry Gujarat in their party vehicle. “The government, the party, the administration, the election machinery, everything is rolled into one in Gujarat. The logo of the Gujarat government should now be the lotus [BJP’s election symbol]. That is the situation of governance in Gujarat.” He called for saving democracy because it might be a thing of the past if they did not act.

BJP spokesperson Tom Vadakkan rejected Congress’s claims about Modi’s roadshow “His cavalcade was parked a little further from the polling booth and the Prime Minister walked up to the polling booth to vote...,” he said. “It was not a roadshow or anything like that. What would you do as a citizen? You would not drive inside the polling booth with your vehicle, will you? You will walk up to the polling booth.”

Vadakkan cited limitations and added many cars in Modi’s cavalcade may have parked a little further. “If he walked, how is democracy being affected? It defies logic. Congress wants to be a bad loser...”

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