The Election Commission of India has come under severe criticism after it deferred the announcement of dates for Gujarat assembly elections 2017. Chief Election Commissioner A K Jyoti has now claimed that the delay in the announcement was keeping in mind the state's welfare.
The Congress has accused the Narendra Modi government of pressuring the Election Commission to defer the announcement so that the center can announce sops for voters in Gujarat. A K Jyoti has now said that the delay in announcing the Gujarat dates was to ensure the state did not have to endure a long period under the model code of conduct.
"There is no justification to have a prolonged period of the imposition of model code of conduct as it could hamper development work," CEC Jyoti said. He added that the Gujarat government had told the Commission that it needed time to complete relief work before the model code is enforced. Gujarat had been marred by floods and heavy rains which led to massive criticism of the state government.
A K Jyoti quoted a precedent in 2001 when the law ministry and the EC had reached an understanding not to allow a gap of more than 21 days between the announcement of polls and date of notification for elections. With this effectively, A K Jyoti said, the model code will be in place for 46 days. He said in the past when elections to Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh were announced together, the model code remained enforced for 86 days.
With agency inputs