The opposition parties have alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s long walk to the polling booth to cast his vote in Ahmedabad violated the Model Code of Conduct. Congress’s national spokesperson Pawan Khera said in a video statement that the Election Commission of India (ECI) has maintained silence over frequent violations of MCC by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the assembly elections. (Follow the full Gujarat election coverage here)
“The way Election Commission has been silenced is a wake-up call for democracy,” Khera said, adding that the Congress party is mulling over legal aspects to bring PM Modi’s “roadshow” under the definition of advertisement.
“The PM who goes to give his vote in Ahmedabad for over 2.5 hours was telecasted live by all news channels free of cost. Shouldn’t you be charging the BJP? Why are you doing it for free? We will take necessary steps to prevail upon the ECI through whatever legal means possible to ensure that such publicity comes under the purview of the Election expenditures of the party who forces to run the roadshow live even when the election is underway,” Khera added.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee took a swipe at the prime minister and other BJP leaders, saying they are “VVIPs” and “can do anything” with impunity, reported ANI.
“Roadshow is not permitted on the day of voting but Prime Minister Modi and his party are VVIPs, they can do anything and they will be excused,” ANI quoted Trinamool Congress supremo as saying.
Maintianing that it was not a roadshow, BJP spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said, “The PM’s cavalcade was parked a little further from the polling booth and the PM walked up to the polling booth to cast his vote and this is the exact provocation that Pawan Khera is talking about. It is not a roadshow or anything of any kind. What would you do as a citizen? You won’t drive inside the polling booth with your vehicle, will you?”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi cast his vote at a polling station in Ahmedabad on Monday during the second phase of the Gujarat Assembly polls. arrived at a polling station at Nishan High School in the Ranip area of Ahmedabad city at around 9.30 am to exercise his franchise. The prime minister walked out of the polling booth and showed his inked finger to the crowd gathered to welcome him. He then walked to his elder brother Soma Modi’s house located near the polling station.
Union home minister Amit Shah, Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, Aam Aadmi Party’s chief ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Sukhram Rathva were among those who cast votes.
The counting of votes will take place on December 8.
(With inputs from Bureau and ANI)