Gujarat polls end with Congress, BJP sparring over poll code violations

Published: December 14, 2017 - 18:33

Modi’s ‘mini’ roadshow after casting his vote is at the heart of a heated battle between Congress and the Election Commission.

Terming the Election Commission a “captive puppet” in the hands of the BJP, Congress leaders on Thursday gheraoed the Election Commission (EC) office in Delhi after Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked for a few kilometres, turning the walk into a roadshow, after casting his vote in Ranip, Ahmedabad.

After walking out of the election booth, instead of going straight to his car as all other VIP voters had done through the day, Modi had chosen to walk on the road, waving to cheering supporters and flaunting his inked finger. The Congress has alleged that the gesture was a gross violation of the code of conduct that was in effect as the second phase of Gujarat elections was underway. Modi had also been accused of violating the code earlier when he gave a speech at FICCI on December 13, a day before voting was supposed to take place in Gujarat, and used the platform to attack Congress.

Former finance minister P Chidambaram took to Twitter to accuse the EC of “sleeping on the job”

During both the instances, the Congress had demanded that the top election body issue a notice to Modi. The EC’s inaction also received flak because it had moved with great urgency in shooting a notice to Congress president Rahul Gandhi for giving an election-related interview to a few Gujarati TV channels on December 13. The Congress, on the other hand, had alleged that Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Ruapani and other BJP leaders had been threatening journalists for telecasting Rahul Gandhi’s interview and urged the EC to take action against them, including registration of cases.

Former finance minister P Chidambaram took to Twitter to accuse the EC of “sleeping on the job” and said, “There has not been a more blatant violation of the code of conduct on polling day.” He added, “Yesterday, PM gave 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.”

While addressing the media, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “In 2014 elections, Modiji even showed BJP symbol on voting day but EC didn’t act. The BJP held a press conference just before the first phase of Gujarat election. These double standards won’t work and therefore FIR should be filed against the Prime Minister.”

Polling in Gujarat wrapped up around 5 pm on December 14 and had recorded a turnout of 62.37 percent till 4 pm. Most exit poll results show BJP coming out victorious with over 100 seats

With inputs from UNI