Yet again, a political fight has broken out between BJP and Congress amidst the second phase of Gujarat assembly elections with the latter attacking the central poll body for not taking any action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his alleged ‘roadshow’ in Gujarat. Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor while speaking to media said, “Concerned about double standard shown by EC today. EC has lost all objectivity and impartiality. But to issue a notice against one side & completely condone blatant violation of election code of conduct by other side,almost most astonishing thing we have seen from EC.” Tharoor’s comments reflect the show cause notice issued by the poll panel against Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi to provide an explanation of why action should not be taken against him, for appearing in an interview for TV channel violating the Model Code of Conduct.
In a press statement released by the Election Commission, the poll body asked TV news channels to ‘forthwith stop’ airing interview of Rahul Gandhi as they violated the election law and directed the Gujarat poll authorities to register FIRs against anyone infringing legal provisions. The notice read that Rahul Gandhi spoke about second phase of Gujarat elections that was held on Thursday which falls under the definition of “election matter” that violated the election code of conduct. The notice read that any election based promotion is prohibited within 48 hours of the conclusion of polls and display of election matter is a violation of the prohibition under Section 126 (1) (b) of the 1951 Act.
On Thursday, the Congress had alleged Prime Minister Narendra Modi of violating the Model Code of Conduct after casting his vote in Sabarmati. The Congress launched a tirade against EC calling it a “puppet” of the ruling government for booking Rahul Gandhi whereas Congress’ demand of action against Narendra Modi for conducting a “roadshow” was not taken into confidence. Randeep Surjewala condemning the EC move during a press conference said that the poll commission was colluding with BJP and maligning its role as an independent arbiter. He further said, “EC’s conspiratorial silence and absolute inaction reflects as to how one more independent institution in our polity has become a puppet at the whims and fancy of Bharatiya Janata Party. The double standards of Election Commission can be gauged by the fact that while it registers an FIR against news channels and newspapers for holding an interview of Congress President, Shri Rahul Gandhi at New Delhi; it gives a free licence to BJP and Shri Narendra Modi to violate the law.”