Gujarat govt wanted more time: Election Commission
The election commission (EC) on Thursday defended its decision of not announcing the schedule for the upcoming assembly polls in Gujarat simultaneously with Himachal Pradesh, by pointing out that the state government needed more time for carrying out relief and rehabilitation work for flood affected people.
The poll panel said the Himachal Pradesh administration on the other hand, pressed for completing the polling exercise before mid-November, when snow fall is in the higher reaches.
The Congress however alleged that the BJP government appeared to be “putting pressure” on the EC to defer the announcement of elections in Gujarat to “suit” its political ends. The party alleged that the implementation of the model code of conduct (MCC) has been deferred to allow PM Narendra Modi’s rally. “Reason is that PM is visiting Gujarat on October 16, as false Santa Claus to announce sops and jumlas that he didn’t implement for 22 yrs,” tweeted Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.
CEC AK Joti, however refuted these allegations and said the state government sought more time as it did not want an unusually long period of MCC. Citing an office memorandum by the law ministry in April 2001, he said MCC should not extend beyond 46 days. “In 2012, the MCC for Gujarat and Himachal started from October 3. In Himachal the elections were held on December 4, but in Gujarat polls were held in two phases - on December 13 and 17. The counting was done on December 20. So from October 3 to December 24 when the election process concluded, it is 83 days, which is unreasonable. We have to be reasonable to state governments,” Joti said.