EC authorised Modi to announce Gujarat poll dates: Chidambaram

Former Finance Miniter P Chidambaram on Friday taking a dig at both the election commission and Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleged the EC had given the authority to the PM to announce the date for the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections.

The EC on 12 Oct, was to announce the dates for elections in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. 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.

Narendra Modi was scheduled to visit Gujarat on 16 Oct and it was expected that he might announce the last minute sops and perks for the people of Gujarat trying to lure them, which would not have been possible if the code of conduct came into practice after the announcement of the poll dates by the EC.

Taking a jibe at the election commission, Chidambaram taunted that the  “Election Commission will be conveniently recalled from its extended holiday after the Gujarat government has announced all concessions and freebies. He also sarcastically tweeted that “EC has authorised PM to announce the date of Gujarat elections at his last rally (and kindly keep EC informed).”

The opposition alleged that the ruling government put pressure on the EC to delay the announcement of the dates for assembly elections in Gujarat so that the Prime Minister could act as “false Santa Claus” and offer sops, use jumlas (rhetoric) during his 16 October visit to his home state.”

Denying the allegations of the opposition and trying to save the ruling government, BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the remarks made by Congress were without any basis.

“It is absolutely absurd. It’s like questioning the prudence of the EC. The Congress is perhaps speaking out of its own experience where interference in the functioning of constitutional bodies used to be a thing in their rule. Such is not the case since 2014,” he had said.