Raje Announces Free Electricity for Farmers Just Before Poll Code Takes Effect; Cong Asks if ‘BJP is Super EC’

Kolkata: The Congress on Saturday questioned the independence of the Election Commission over last-minute postponement in the announcement of poll dates for the upcoming state Assembly elections.

The Commission in a press release on Saturday morning had notified the timing of the press conference called for the announcement of the poll schedule at 12.30 pm. A later release deferred the media interaction by three hours to 3.30 pm.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala in a tweet hinted that the announcement was pushed back by three hours to favour the ruling party since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to address an election rally at Ajmer at 1pm.

The Congress leader, in a tweet addressed to the ECI, said that the national BJP IT cell-head had tweeted the dates of Karnataka assembly elections before the ECI could do so. He further alleged that the ECI had de-linked Gujarat elections from Himachal to “enable PM Modi” to make a slew of announcements and added that the the commission had again deferred Saturday’s press conference in Rajasthan to facilitate the PM. “Is BJP the ‘Super EC’?,” Surjewala asked.

At the Ajmer rally, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje announced free electricity for farmers, a move the government wouldn’t have been able to make had the Model Code of Conduct come into effect.

Once the elections are announced, the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect, barring political executive from making any policy announcements.

Rajasthan Congress President Sachin Pilot, while launching a scathing attack on Raje said, “Half an hour before election dates, free electricity was announced. You did not remember this for five years? This shows how desperate they (BJP) are.”​

This is not the first time the Congress has accused the commission of bias. During Gujarat assembly polls last year, the party called the election watchdog of acting like a “puppet and frontal organization” of the BJP for “taking out a road show” after casting his vote.

The Congress was miffed with the Commission for not acting on its complaint against Prime Minister for what it called was a clear violation of the model code.

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