Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Friday attacked Congress leader P Chidambaram for criticising the Election Commission. Rupani claimed that the former finance minister’s party was “scared” of the upcoming polls in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state, PTI reported. “EC has authorised Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] to announce [the] date of [the] Gujarat elections at his last rally,” Chidambaram had tweeted.

“Chidambaram and the Congress are scared of the upcoming elections,” Rupani told reporters in Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar. “We believe elections should happen on due time, and they will happen. But they [the Congress] are scared due to their desperation. And criticising the Election Commission is not the right thing in a democracy.”

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 schemes to the 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.”