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  1. Rahul Gandhi TV interview ban: P Chidambaram blasts EC ahead of Gujarat exit poll 2017; here’s what he said

Rahul Gandhi TV interview ban: P Chidambaram blasts EC ahead of Gujarat exit poll 2017; here’s what he said

Rahul Gandhi TV interview ban: Ahead of Gujarat exit poll 2017 and on Himachal Pradesh election exit poll, P Chidambaram blasted the Election Commission. Amid the turmoil over Election Commission’s decision to ban Rahul Gandhi’s TV interview

By: | New Delhi | Published: December 14, 2017 5:09 PM
P Chidmabaram. (IE)

Rahul Gandhi TV interview ban: Ahead of Gujarat exit poll 2017 and on Himachal Pradesh election exit poll, P Chidambaram blasted the Election Commission. Amid the turmoil over Election Commission’s decision to ban Rahul Gandhi’s TV interview, Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday took a dig at the poll agency. Chidambaram questioned EC as to why it picked on the party’s president-elect Rahul Gandhi for giving media interviews while leaving out the BJP leaders who did virtually the same thing. In a series of tweets, Chidambaram accused the poll panel of sleeping on the job and also asked people in Gujarat to exercise their franchise and “change” the BJP government in the state. “Yesterday, Prime Minister 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 Rahul Gandhi’s interview?” he said.

The former finance minister said the BJP petitioning the poll panel is an act of ‘desperation.” An interview after the campaign ends is the rule for every candidate and every campaigner in every election, he said. “Allowing a roadshow of Prime Minister on voting day is a gross violation of the code of conduct. It is an election campaign. What is the EC doing?,” Chidambaram asked.

Notably, the second and final phase of the Gujarat elections is underway whereas the vote counting will be held on December 18. Accusing the Election Commission of “sleeping on the job”, he 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.

The former home minister also urged the media to stand up to “this unprecedented violation of the code of conduct” and condemn the commission for allowing this “gross abuse”. “Let the media look at the images on the TV screens, search its conscience and reach a conclusion. There has not been a more blatant violation of the code of conduct on polling day.”

Chidambaram added that Gujarat voters must ignore the “diversionary tactics” of the states ruling party and focus on only one thing and that is “vote to change the government after 22 years”. “Don’t underestimate the power of your vote. Every vote can bring about change. To my fellow citizens of Gujarat: Every vote matters. Just go out and vote. Vote for a change of government after 22 years,” he tweeted.

Earlier, on Wednesday, EC had issued a show cause notice to Rahul for “prima facie” violating the model code by giving interviews to Gujarati TV channels. Gandhi was asked to reply by December 18, failing which the poll panel will decide the matter without any reference to him.

Meanwhile, the Congress has also petitioned the EC for action against PM 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 the press conference in Ahmedabad and Delhi respectively.

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