The Congress today lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a “political roadshow”, flouting the code of conduct, on his way to vote in the second phase of Gujarat Assembly elections in Ahmedabad. The grand old party also questioned the Election Commission of India’s “total silence and total inaction”.
“The government, the party, the administration, the election machinery, everything is rolled into one in Gujarat,” senior Congress leader Pawan Khera said today in a press conference.
Mr Khera said his party has been making several representations to the poll body at various levels, but it looks like the election watchdog is “willingly under pressure”.
Congress, and other Opposition parties like the Trinamool Congress, have objected to PM Modi’s grand entry to the polling station amid cheers from the crowd.
“The Prime Minister, who goes to give his vote in Ahmedabad, decides to do a roadshow 2.5 hours. Covered live by all your channels free of cost. Isn’t this advertisement? Shouldn’t you guys be charging the BJP? Why are you doing it free?” Mr Khera said, adding that Congress will take “necessary steps” and prevail upon the Election Commission of India.
Through all legal means possible, the party will ensure that such publicity comes under the purview of election expenditure of the party, Pawan Khera said.
Congress also brought up the incident where a Congress MLA in Gujarat who went “missing” last evening, prompting a post-midnight tweet from Rahul Gandhi, alleged this morning that he spent the night in a forest after being attacked with swords by a mob led by his BJP rival.
Yesterday in the afternoon hour, tribal candidate and sitting MLA of Kanti Kharadi who is seeking re-election from Danta in Gujarat’s Banaskantha wrote to the Election Commission seeking additional security because he apprehended a threat to his life, Mr Khera claimed, adding that by evening he was “attacked by 24 people, gundas or the BJP”.
The Election Commission did not pay timely attention to his pleas, Congress alleged.
“I was attacked by the BJP candidate and 150 of his goons with swords around 9.30 pm. They would have killed me, so I ran and hid in a jungle for three-four hours. The police found me after three-four hours,” Mr Kharadi told NDTV.
Pawan Khera further said they have also shared with the Election Commission visuals of BJP distributing liquor in Gujarat, where prohibition is in force.
“Openly, shamelessly distributing liquor with BJP logos on the vehicles. They are not afraid. The government, the party, the administration, the election machinery, everything is rolled into one in Gujarat. The logo of Gujarat government should now be Kamal (lotus). That’s the situation of the governance in Gujarat. That’s the situation of the election machinery in Gujarat,” he said.