LIVE Gujarat election 2017: On the last of the assembly poll in the state, Congress leaders triggered probably the biggest row of this election season. In a series of tweets, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram accused the Election Commission of sleeping on the job and also asked people in Gujarat to exercise their franchise and “change” the BJP government in the state. “Yesterday, PM made a speech. BJP’s President gave an interview. Railway Minister gave an interview. Why have all these escaped the EC’s attention? Why pick on only Mr Rahul Gandhi’s interview?” Chidambaram said. The former finance and home minister further said the BJP petitioning the Election Commission is an act of “desperation”. An interview after the campaign ends is the norm for every candidate and every campaigner in every election, he said. “Allowing a roadshow of PM on voting day is a gross violation of the code of conduct. It is an election campaign. What is the EC doing?” Chidambaram asked. Accusing the Election Commission of “sleeping on the job”, Chidambaram said the images on TV will leave no one in doubt that the BJP and PM conducted a full-fledged campaign on polling day. “Shocking violation of Rules,” he said.
Here are all the updates as the row against Election Commission unfolds:
4.03 pm: Reacting to Congress charges, BJP said, “The Congress has lost every election in last three years wherever there is fight between two parties. Congress wants to save Rahul Gandhi from taking the blame of defeat in Gujarat, that’s why it is demeaning a Constitutional institution like Election Commission.”
— ANI (@ANI) December 14, 2017
4.00 pm: Have received a complaint regarding MCC violation after casting of the vote. It is a complaint which is is more anticipatory in nature which says crowd was there and this could be a roadshow. This complaint has been given to DEO Ahmedabad,” Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer said on PM Modi’s so-called road show after he casted his vote today.
3.59 pm: Some BJP leaders have also petitioned the Election Commission.
3.55 pm: Attacking EC, Surjewala had said, “It seems that the Chief Election Commissioner is still working like Modi’s PS and even after sitting on the post of the constitution. Election Commission has now become the BJP’s Frontal Organization.”
Delhi: Police detains Congress workers who were marching to Election Commission in protest over PM Modi’s roadshow after casting his vote today pic.twitter.com/xGIveyyqnX
— ANI (@ANI) December 14, 2017
3.51 pm: On the day when EC issued notice to Rahul Gandhi for violating MCC by giving interviews to news channels, Congress also petitioned the poll body for action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for addressing an event organised by an industry body on the eve of the final phase of the Gujarat polls where he attacked the main opposition party. The Congress claimed that no FIR was registered against BJP president Amit Shah and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for holding a press conference in Ahmedabad and Delhi respectively.
Allowing a roadshow of PM on voting day is a gross violation of code of conduct. It is an election campaign. What is the EC doing?
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) December 14, 2017
3.49 pm: Earlier, Sujewala said, “Election Commission has become a puppet of the BJP. ECI has set different standards to BJP and INC. What is the reason for ECI to behave like a frontal organisation of BJP.”
3.45 pm” Congress workers marched to Election Commission in protest over PM Modi’s roadshow after casting his vote today. They were stopped by police outside Sardar Patel Bhawan near Patel Chowk in Delhi.
3.43 pm: On Wednesday, Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi was served a show-cause notice by the Election Commission for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct. On Thursday, the Congress attacked the poll panel. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Election Commission has become a “puppet” of the ruling BJP party in the state as well as the centre. ”
3.30 pm: The second and final phase of the Gujarat elections is being held today. The votes will be counted on December 18.
Election Commission Notice to Rahul Gandhi
- The ECI has directed Rahul to file a reply in the regard by 5:00 PM of December 18. The poll panel has asked Rahul to ‘explain why action should not be taken against him for violating provisions of Model Code of Conduct, failing which Commission will decide matter without any further reference to him.’ Gujarat’s Chief Electoral Officer, BB Swain, initiated action against media channels.
- Swain said “We have been directed by the EC to take actions by filing FIR against violation of 126 (1) (b) of Representation of People Act 1951 in the areas going to polls tomorrow and we are working on it”.
- EC termed the telecast of interview as display of election matter in violation of the 48-hour ban in force for Phase-2 polling.
- Gandhi criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for insulting his predecessor Manmohan Singh while campaigning in the state, instead of talking about people’s concerns in the interview.