Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Jyoti has denied allegations of collusion with the Centre’s Narendra Modi government in not announcing the election schedules for Gujarat.
As widely expected, Jyoti said that the poll panel will announce the dates in next couple of days. The Congress had alleged that the EC had authorised Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce the dates after he announced key schemes to entice Gujarati voters last weekend.
Taking to Twitter, 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.
Jyoti, for his part said that the delay was due to the government staff’s involvement in the flood relief work.
He said, “We realised that nearly 26,000 staff would be deployed for elections and flood relief work would get delayed.”
The same EC had not delayed the assembly elections for Jammu and Kashmir in 2014. The floods in Jammu and Kashmir was far more ravaging that this year’s floods of Gujarat.
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.
He told NDTV, “We can’t stop anybody from making any announcement. We haven’t stopped anybody from going to Gujarat and making announcements.”
Jyoti also reminded that not just Modi, Rahul Gandhi too was ‘going to Gujarat today.’
Janta Ka Reporter had reported last week that the CEC was waiting for Modi to announce sops to announce the poll dates for Gujarat. Jyoti had earlier this month stunned everyone by refusing to announce the election schedule for Gujarat while doing the same for Himachal Pradesh. The counting for both the states will take place the same day on 18 December.