- Himachal Pradesh poll dates announced yesterday, Gujarat skipped
- This is so that PM can announce more sops at rally next week: Congress
- Terms of both assemblies end two weeks apart in January
The Election Commission announced dates on Thursday for elections in Himachal Pradesh and said the Gujarat elections dates would be announced later, though it did say that they would be held no later than December 18, when votes will be counted for Himachal Pradesh.
The opposition has said this deviates from the practice of announcing poll dates together for states where elections are due around the same time. The terms of the present Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assemblies end two weeks apart.
Responding to the Opposition charge, BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said, "Congress' statements on Gujarat Poll dates are unfortunate."
"It would have been okay if a small political group would have said this statement. But it is saddening that a party which has ruled the country for several years is using the decisions for constitutional organisations for their own political vendetta," he added.
"The reason is that the Prime Minister is visiting Gujarat on October 16 as a 'false Santa Claus' to announce sops and 'jumlas' that he didn't implement for 22 years. Onus lies on the EC to ensure level playing field by announcing Gujarat election dates and imposing the Model Code of Conduct immediately," Mr Surjewala said.
The Congress leader said if the Prime Minister had gone to Gujarat after poll dates were announced, he would have gone there as a campaigner and would not have been able to make populist announcements.
An independent body like the Election Commission must not "come under pressure like this," the Congress leader said,
There was "no justification" to have a prolonged period of imposition of model code of conduct as it could hamper development work, Mr Joti said.
Elections will be held for Himachal Pradesh's 68 assembly seats polls on November 9 and votes will be counted on December 18, the Election Commission said yesterday.