Was EC under pressure to defer announcement of Gujarat election, questions Congress

Assembly polls in Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh will be held on November 9.

By Zee Media Bureau | Last Updated: Oct 12, 2017, 20:13 PM IST
Was EC under pressure to defer announcement of Gujarat election, questions Congress
Pic courtesy: ANI (File pic)

New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday accused the BJP-led central government of exerting pressure on the Election Commission to defer the announcement of the Gujarat Assembly polls.

Assembly polls in Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh will be held on November 9, the Election Commission announced, but gave no dates for BJP-governed Gujarat whose Assembly term also ends in January.

The result for the election in Himachal Pradesh will be announced on December 18.

In a series of tweets, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala demanded that the poll panel announce the dates of elections in Gujarat to provide a level-playing field and impose the Model Code of Conduct. 

"Reason is that PM is visiting Gujarat on 16th October as a false Santa Claus to announce soaps and jumlas that he didn’t implement for 22 years," he said.

Meanwhile, announcing the schedule, Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti said filing of nominations will open on October 16 and the last date will be October 23.

Scrutiny will be done the next day and the last for withdrawal of candidates will be October 26.

He said the model code of conduct in Himachal Pradesh comes into effect immediately under which the state government cannot take policy decisions.

Similarly, the Central government cannot announce policy decisions regarding Himachal Pradesh.

The term of the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly ends on January 7, 2018 and that of the 182-member Gujarat assembly on January 22.

On being asked as to why election dates for Gujarat were not announced today, Joti cited some office memorandums issued earlier to justify the delay in the announcement regarding Gujarat, saying the EC had a statutory 21 days to carry out elections that can extend up to 45 days.

He said the election process in Gujarat will be completed before vote count in HP. 

"The basic principle is that the voting pattern in one state should not affect the results of another state that goes to polls in a short period. Prior to Himachal results, the voting process will be over in Gujarat," the CEC said.

(With IANS inputs)