Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Jyoti may finally announce the poll dates for Gujarat assembly elections today. Jyoti has been under fire for delaying the process to allegedly allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi to complete his announcement for sops and projects.
This comes just three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Gujarat to announce and launch projects in the poll-bound state.
While announcing the dates for Himachal Pradesh, Jyoti had deliberately refused to do the same for Gujarat. This is was blatant deviation from the decade-old convention of announcing elections for the two states together.
Jyoti had, however, denied allegations of collusion with the Centre’s Narendra Modi government in not announcing the election schedules for Gujarat.
Former finance minister P Chidambaram had sarcastically written that the EC had “authorised” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the dates at his last rally, after all “freebies” for the state were doled out.
There was allegation that Jyoti, a former senior civil servant in the Gujarat government during Modi’s term as the state’s chief minister, had deliberately delayed the dates as part of quid pro quo deal. He’s alleged to have flouted norms by extending his stay in a government bungalow in Gujarat.
The reason given the CEC that the delay was largely due to the government staff’s involvement in the relief works in the flood affected areas of the state also did not hold water as the severity of this year’s floods was nowhere close to how it was in Kashmir in 2014.
In 2014, the Election Commission had gone ahead with the assembly polls as scheduled despite the state facing ravaging floods that killed dozens of people.