- Election Commission change moved press conference from noon to 3 pm
- Congress alleged change of timing might be linked to PM's Ajmer rally
- Election body said timing was changed for convenience of mediapersons
The Congress today raised questions on the independence of the Election Commission after the election body changed the timing of its press conference to announce dates for assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram.
This morning, it was announced that the Election Commission will declare the dates at 12:30 pm. However, an hour later, the timing of the announcement was shifted to 3 in the afternoon. The election body says the move was made for the convenience of all mediapersons so that they can reach in time and to arrange logistics at the Election Commission office.
The Congress, however, alleges the decision to delay the announcement might have a link to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally in Ajmer in BJP-ruled Rajasthan at 1 pm, where Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's state-wide yatra ahead of the polls will conclude.
As soon as the Election Commissioner OP Rawat announces the dates, the Model Code of Conduct will come into force, following which the state government cannot announce any new schemes.
"3 Facts- Draw your own conclusions. 1. ECI announces a PC at 12.30 today to announce elction dates to the 5 states. 2. PM Modi is addressing a rally in Ajmer, Rajasthan at 1 PM today. 3. ECI suddenly changes the time of announcement and PC to 3 PM. Independence of ECI?" tweeted Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.
The BJP is expecting a three lakh strong turnout for PM Modi's rally.
"A large number of people will come to attend the PM's rally which is significant ahead of the polls," state education minister Vasudev Devnani said. Ajmer district has eight assembly constituencies and seven of them are represented by BJP legislators while the Congress has one seat, Nasirabad.
The BJP, which had lost the Ajmer Lok Sabha constituency to Congress in bypolls held earlier this year, is trying to build a favourable atmosphere and mood among the voters by holding the rally of PM Modi, who had addressed an election rally in Ajmer in 2013 also.
The Congress had won the Ajmer Lok Sabha seat by defeating BJP's Ramswaroop Lamba who is the son of former Ajmer lawmaer Sanwar Lal Jat. Bypolls were held for the seat after the then sitting lawmaker Sanwar Lal Jat died due to cardiac arrest last year.
With inputs from PTI
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