This is why Election Commission did not announce Gujarat poll dates
- Awagyakrit Singh
This is why Election Commission did not announce Gujarat poll dates

In the Super Bowl of Indian democracy, the reigning champion BJP and the challenger Congress are preparing for battle most ferocious, but the Election Commission’s conduct has given rise to a query most unfortunate — on whose side is the umpire?


NEW DELHI, OCT 15: If the Election Commission had announced the dates for Gujarat polls alongside that of Himachal Pradesh, as everybody and his uncle and nephew expected on October 12, this is what would not have happened. So, each of these are steps that the Election Commission not only allowed but facilitated with its decision.

Did it go out of its way, even putting its reputation at stake, while postponing announcement of Gujarat poll dates?

The Election Commission's main reasoning was that the Gujarat government had informed the EC that crucial flood relief work was on and the relief efforts will be sabotaged if the model code of conduct was to be suddenly enforced.


Now, both varieties of journalists, pertinacious as well as assiduous, have reported that the local authorities in Gujarat's flood-hit districts have already completed the flood-relief work to the extent of 100 per cent! In both, Banaskantha and Patan, the districts worst hit by the floods, relief work had ended days back.


The Election Commission's main reasoning was that the Gujarat government had informed the EC that crucial flood relief work was on and the relief efforts will be sabotaged if the model code of conduct was to be suddenly enforced.


Since the October 12 announcement, the Model Code of Conduct had come into operation in Himachal Pradesh. So no new sops can be announced, no new schemes can be launched, no roads can be laid, no bridges can be inaugurated, no new foundation stones can be laid.


Since the October 12 non-announcement in case of Gujarat, the following has either already happened or will happen.

* On October 16, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in Gujarat, not to seek votes, but to announce sops. In the last 30 days, the PM has visited Gujarat four times. For his latest, he should take out the Election Commission for a thank you dinner.


* The 15-day, 149-constituencies yatra will have the slogan - I am Gujarat, I am Vikas. This is the 'habeas corpus answer' to the campaign about the missing vikas, or ‘Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe (Vikas has gone crazy)’, possible only because the EC did not declare Gujarat poll dates on October 12. 

* On October 17, Prime Minister Modi will inaugurate an ayurveda institute. This would have been unthinkable if the EC had announced poll date on October 12.

* On October 23, PM Modi will again visit Gujarat where he will make appropriate references to the Labh Pancham day, the auspicious day when businesses reopen after Gujarati new year day. This will be an administrative visit, not part of election campaign, thanks to the EC.

* On October 23, the PM will happen to inaugurate development projects worth Rs 780 crore in Vadodara alone — something that would have been unthinkable if the EC had announced Gujarat poll dates on Oct 12.


You cannot blame the EC for allowing the bullet train theatre as a poll sop. But for every government sop that happened or will happen after the EC failed to announce Gujarat dates on October 12, the EC needs to take the blame, unless the 100 gardens and gyms are part of the flood relief measures.


* Entire official machinery of Gujarat will be at the beck and call of the state government for this function. If the EC had announced the dates on Oct 12, those officials would have been empowered to say no to misuse.

* The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has convened an emergency meeting on Tuesday, October 17, to clear additional projects worth Rs 250 crore. This meeting would have been impossible if the EC had announced election dates on Oct 12.

* The new Rs 250 crore of projects, which the VMC will clear on Oct 17, will be announced by the PM on October 23. Needless to say, this would have been impossible if...

* Apart from the Rs 780-crore projects that it approved and that PM Modi will inaugurate on October 17, the VMC on October 13, approved civic projects worth Rs 300 crore. Not possible if…

* On October 16, entire paperwork for the newly approved projects will be cleared. This would not have been possible if...

* PM Modi will announce a mega flyover project worth Rs 222 crore during his visit. It is time we stopped telling you that it would have been possible if...

* 100 new gardens, an open gym, new playing areas worth crores, a nature-cum-safari park at Ajwa...none of this would have been possible if...

* On his last two-day trip, Modi had unveiled Rs 10,800 crore worth of projects.

* Gujarat government has promised 2 lakh jobs with its garment policy

* Gujarat CM has announced new GIDC units

* On Friday, day after EC did not press the button on model code of conduct, a foundation stone was laid for a medical college in Moraiya village of Sanand Tehsil, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. It would not have been laid if…

* A foundation stone was laid for 2,121 houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin) in Deesa, Gujarat.

* A Garib Kalyan Mela was organised in the same district under the tutelage of Gujarat Health Minister Shankar Chaudhary and MoS (Welfare of Socially and Economically Backward Classes) Keshaji Chauhan, both all set to fight the elections whenever EC announces.

* The two ministers organised a greh pravesh ceremony for 65 families who were allotted houses under PM Awas Yojana. 

* The Garib Kalyan Mela was organised in the main market yard of Deesa, a venue that would not have been possible if…

* The entire machinery, men and resources, of the Deesa Agricultural Produce Market Committee were involved in this sarkaari function which would not have been possible if the Model Code of Conduct were on. They have the Election Commission to thank.

* Help for 10,000 beneficiaries was announced, but if…


* People received gas stoves and cylinders, sewing machines, cycles, milk collection vessels and other kitchen items. They should thank the EC.

* Rs 1.2 lakh was announced as government assistance to build homes. EC, thank you.

* A minister also announced that Rs 30,000 have already been deposited in bank accounts. He should have thanked the EC also.

* Since the EC's non-action on pressing the Model Code button for Gujarat, these are worthies touring the state — Smriti Irani, Rajnath Singh, Uma Bharti, Vasundhara Raje, Yogi Adityanath, apart from lesser names. All of these tours have been subjected to the observant eye of the EC, the expenditure would have been paid out of BJP's or the leaders' accounts, not the state exchequer, and their statements would have been subjected to the test of communalism etc., if only the EC had announced the Gujarat poll dates on October 12.


* Someone could have petitioned the EC that Yogi Adityanath's statements on Saturday, two days after EC's refusal to kickstart Model Code of Conduct, sound communal. Yogi, claiming that Hinduism is the culture and soul of India, said, "Hindu koi card nahi hain, ek sanskriti hai, is desh ka pran hain. Pran ke bagair sharir ki kalpana nahi ki ja shakti hai."

* Now you cannot go to Mr AK Jyoti because he will tell you the election dates were not announced because of pending flood relief work, and because the long period of model code of conduct hampers development.


The EC did not declare the Gujarat dates on October 12. So, the PMO declared Modi’s Gujarat tour dates as October 17 and October 23. On October 23, the PM will inaugurate development projects worth Rs 780 crore in Vadodara alone. How’s that for EC’s reputation as an honest arbiter of democratic transition?


Of course, everyone in Gujarat believes that the bullet train theatre with star participation by an exotic Japanese actor waving hands was only a huge leap forward in Gujarat's march towards development and had nothing to do with garnering votes. You cannot blame the EC for that one.

For anything that happened after that announcement by the EC on October 12, and the non-announcement, the EC needs to take the blame, unless the 100 gardens and gyms are part of the flood relief measures.

The sops are very necessary in Gujarat. BJP supremo Amit Shah cancelled a crucial meeting with OBCs in Fagvel even though the OBCs comprise 40 per cent vote chunk in the state. The reason given was 'heavy rain.' The real reason was the worry that the BJP had little to show what it had done for the OBCs. The sops will help.

Without sops, you need Pakistan a lot. In Bardoli, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on October 14 blasted Jawaharlal Nehru and said had he given Sardar Patel a free hand, India would not have been facing the Kashmir issue. In Gujarat’s Mandavi, Yogi Adityanath asked the crowd to shout "Bharat Mata Ki Jai” so loud that it is heard in Pakistan. In Ahmedabad, on October 14, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj dwelled in details on women skirts and surgical strike against Pakistan.

All of these visits would not have been possible with government money and local officials would have stayed miles away from political rallies if only the EC had announced Gujarat election dates on October 12.

In a recent meeting, BJP president Amit Shah pulled up a young man who asked an uncomfortable question, and said the young people should apply their minds before believing everything on WhatsApp. Hardcore BJP supporters hope and pray that Gujarat's voters do not take Amit Shah's advice seriously and continue to believe the great march towards development that our politicians are leading us on to.

There is, however, little danger of India's thinking men and women taking the EC's word seriously that it did not announce the Gujarat election dates on October 12, alongside the dates for Himachal Pradesh, because it was worried about flood relief work or did not want to hamper the development initiatives in Gujarat.

In Pakistan, Imran Khan has suggested that the Election Commission should register itself as a political party.

In India, Gujarat is set to see a lot of talk about Pakistan, and also about Election Commission.

The Congress, despite its many setbacks, has never dropped below 38 per cent of the vote bank in Modi’s time.





Read Punjab Today Editorial here :

Election Commission - You Failed to Convince. Try Again.


Disclaimer : and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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