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Modi’s roadshow violated poll code: Congress

The grand old party also questioned the “complete quiet and total inaction” of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the matter.

Anjali Bhatia | New Delhi |

The Congress, on Monday, criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “political roadshow” en route to Ahmedabad to cast his ballot in the second round of the Gujarat Assembly elections. The party claimed that the roadshow violated the Model Conduct of Conduct.

The grand old party also questioned the “complete quiet and total inaction” of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the matter.

Senior Congress leader Pawan Khera said, “The government, the party, the administration, the election machinery, everything is rolled into one in Gujarat.”

Speaking at a press conference, Pawan 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 (TMC) 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 for 2.5 hours – covered live by all your channels free of cost. Isn’t this an advertisement? Shouldn’t you guys be charging the BJP? Why are you doing it free?” Khera said, adding Congress will take “necessary steps” and prevail upon the ECI.

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 Data in Gujarat’s Banaskantha wrote to the Election Commission seeking additional security because he apprehended a threat to his life, Khera claimed, adding that by evening he was “attacked by 24 people, gundas of the BJP”.

Congress alleged that the Election Commission did not pay timely attention to his pleas.

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 the 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.