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Crowd gathered on its own: EC snubs Congress' complaint on PM Modi's 'walk'

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The Congress has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of violating the model code by taking out a "roadshow" before casting his vote in the second phase of polling in Gujarat and claimed that the Election Commission is "afraid" to act.

New Delhi, Dec 05: Responding to Congress' complaint against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly holding a roadshow before casting his vote, Additional Chief Electoral Officer said the crowd had gathered on its own.

"Congress party complained about PM walking to booth, we asked for an immediate report from the election officer in Ahmedabad. As per the report it doesn't get established that it was a roadshow and crowd was there on its own," said Additional Chief electoral officer.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The Congress has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of violating the model code by taking out a "roadshow" before casting his vote in the second phase of polling in Gujarat and claimed that the Election Commission is "afraid" to act.

Congress head of media and publicity Pawan Khera alleged inaction on the part of the Election Commission on its complaints over the last several weeks and said the party is deliberating on taking necessary legal measures on the issue.

"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 said.

Khera said the value of the vote of the prime minister 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 prime minister," he said.

"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 willingly under pressure," he told reporters.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi also alleged that "BJP goons" have attacked his party's Danta tribal candidate. "Congress tribal leader and Danta Assembly candidate Kantibhai Kharadi was brutally attacked by BJP goons and is now missing. Congress had sought deployment of additional paramilitary forces from EC, but the Commission kept sleeping," he said in a tweet in Hindi.

"The BJP should listen - we are not afraid and will never be afraid, we will fight firmly," Gandhi said, using the hashtag "#DaroMat". Khera claimed sitting MLA Kantibhai Kharadi wrote to the Election Commission seeking additional security as he apprehended a threat to his life.

"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 alleged and questioned the EC's "silence".

Khera alleged that during the second and last round of polling in Gujarat on Monday, Prime Minister Modi while voting in Ahmedabad did 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," he said.

Khera alleged that the EC has not acted on the Congress' complaints so far against the BJP on several violations 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 second phase of polling in Gujarat was held on Monday and the results will be out on December 8.

with PTI inputs

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