Prime Minister Narendra Modi today stood in a queue at a polling station in Ranip area here to cast his vote, but opposition Congress took objection to his greeting the crowd outside the booth later prompting the Gujarat election authorities to order an inquiry. Modi, after arriving at the polling booth set up in Nishan High School of Ranip area, which is part of Sabarmati constituency, bowed to greet his elder brother Somabhai Modi who was present there. Somabhai Modi lives in the same locality. Then the prime minister stood in the queue to cast his vote. He was seen talking to other voters while awaiting his turn. After casting the vote, he showed his inked finger to thousands of supporters who had gathered outside and were chanting “Modi…Modi”. The prime minister walked some distance to greet the people standing on both sides of the road. Then he stood on the footboard of his car and waved to the crowd.
In the morning, Modi commissioned Scorpene-class submarine Kalvari into the Indian Navy in Mumbai, from where he flew to Gujarat. The state Congress took exception to his greeting the crowd outside the polling booth. Nikunj Balar, the convener of the Congress’ legal cell, said the party lodged a complaint with the Election Commission and the chief electoral officer of Gujarat against Modi’s “roadshow”. A separate complaint was also submitted to the Ranip Police, he said.
In response to the Congress’s complaint, Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat, B B Swain, said an inquiry has been ordered to probe whether there was any violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC). The complaint was more “anticipatory in nature”, he said. “We have received a complaint regarding MCC violation after casting of vote (by Modi). It was more anticipatory in nature. It said there was a huge crowd (outside the polling booth) and it could turn into a roadshow,” Swain said.
“We have handed over the inquiry to the Ahmedabad district election officer (the district collector). Since our MCC team was also present at the booth, it will also give its report. They (the collector and MCC team) are now finalising their overall inquiry report,” Swain said. After an acrimonious campaign, voting for the second and final phase of the Gujarat assembly elections was held today in 93 seats of north and central Gujarat. The election is being seen as a “prestige battle” for Modi and a litmus test for the leadership of Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi. The votes will be counted on December 18.