Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday took to Twitter to criticise the Election Commission for not announcing Gujarat Assembly election dates. “EC has authorised PM to announce date of Gujarat elections at his last rally (and kindly keep EC informed)”, he tweeted. He added that the commission will be “recalled from its extended holiday” once the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government in Gujarat was done announcing “all concessions and freebies”.
Chidambaram is one of many who have criticised the commission, which had announced Himachal Pradesh election dates but not Gujarat’s. The commission usually announces poll dates simultaneously. The Congress has alleged that the commission is delaying announcing the dates so that the BJP can offer more sops to people in the state. The Model Code of Conduct comes into effect as soon as voting dates are announced, banning politicians from announcing freebies until elections are over.
The commission, however, had defended its decision. “Gujarat poll schedules are not announced right now due to the existing rules on time limit [46 days] for holding elections,” Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti had said. “But it will take place before December 18, to ensure that Himachal Pradesh election results do not impact the Gujarat elections.”
Himachal Pradesh polls are on November 9, and counting will be done on December 8.