The Congress on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of violating the model code of conduct by taking out a roadshow before casting his vote in the second phase of polling in Gujarat and alleged that the Election Commission is “afraid” and is “under pressure” not to act against him.
Congress head of media and publicity Pawan Khera said the Congress has seen that over the last several weeks, inaction on the part of the Election Commission — the watchdog of our democracy and of our elections — was evident.
“We have been making representations to the Election Commission at various levels. Every second or third day we have made some representations or the other in Gujarat, in Delhi, but, I am afraid the Election Commission looks like it is under pressure,” he told reporters.
The Congress leader said the party is deliberating on taking necessary legal measures on the issue.
Khera said the value of the vote of the PM or that of any common man is the same. “But how is it that the PM holds a roadshow for 2.5 hours when he goes to vote?” he said.
“What are the compulsions of the Election Commission that it cannot see any violations by the PM?” he said.
He said in the second and the last round of polling in Gujarat, Prime Minister Modi, while voting in Ahmedabad, decided to do a roadshow of two and half hours which was covered live by all channels free of cost.
“Is this not an advertisement? Shouldn’t you be charging the BJP, why you are doing it for free?” he asked.
“We will take necessary steps, and prevail upon the Election Commission of India through whatever means possible, legal means possible, to ensure that such publicity comes under the purview of election expenditure of the party, which undertakes this publicity, which forces you to run these roadshows live, especially when the election is under way,” he said.
The Congress leader alleged that its tribal candidate and sitting MLA of Danta in Gujarat, Kantibhai Kharadi, had written to the Election Commission seeking additional security as he apprehended a threat to his life, to no avail.
By the evening he was attacked by 24 people, who Khera alleged, were ‘goons’ of the BJP and he had to take cover in a forest at night, from where he was finally rescued at 2.33 am.
“The Election Commission did not pay timely attention to his pleas. We have also shared time and again visuals of the BJP distributing liquor in a state, where there is a prohibition, openly, shamelessly and distributing liquor in their vehicles with BJP logos on the vehicles. They are not afraid,” he claimed, questioning the EC’s “silence” on such violations.
Khera alleged that the EC has not acted on the Congress’ complaints so far on several allegations made against the BJP in Gujarat.
“The government, the party, the administration, the election machinery, everything is rolled into one, in Gujarat. The logo of the Gujarat government should now be Kamal (Lotus). That’s the situation of governance in Gujarat, that’s the situation of the election machinery in Gujarat. We beseech upon you, we request you to please join hands with us in saving democracy. Democracy will be a thing of the past, if we don’t act today,” he said.
“The BJP is continuously violating the model code but the EC is not acting against them and has turned silent. It seems the EC is afraid of taking action,” he also said.
The second phase of polling in Gujarat was held on Monday. The results will be out on December 8.