BJP defends delay in announcement of Gujarat Polls, slams Congress for questioning poll panel

Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, on Friday, came down heavily on the Congress party and the Left-led government in Kerala. Prasad, while addressing a press conference in Delhi slammed his party's political opponents and said that the BJP's lotus will bloom all across the nation despite all odds. He also came down heavily on the Congress for questioning the Election Commission for holding back the dates of Gujarat Elections. Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti had on Thursday announced that elections in Himachal Pradesh will be held on 9 November.

 BJP defends delay in announcement of Gujarat Polls, slams Congress for questioning poll panel

File image of Ravi Shankar Prasad. PTIsad

BJP defends delay in announcement of Gujarat poll dates

Hitting back at the Congress for targeting the Election Commission for deferring announcement of the Gujarat polls, the Prasad said that allegations levelled against the constitutional body were without any basis.

"Let us fight properly in Gujarat if you have any issues. By miscellaneous ways the question is being raised on Election Commission, CAG and even Supreme Court. These uncalled for reflections upon constitutional bodies are without any basis," Prasad said.

"It is absolutely absurd. It's like questioning the prudence of EC. Congress is perhaps speaking out of its own experience where interference in functioning of constitutional bodies used to be a thing in their rule. Such is not the case since 2014. Let me also add, this tells that they are jittery about BJP’s prospects in the state," Prasad said.

He was reacting to the accusations by the Congress that the Centre was exerting pressure on the Election Commission to defer announcement of the Gujarat Assembly polls so that Prime Minister Narendra Modi could visit the state early next week to announce "sops and jumlas".

The senior BJP leader also claimed that there were precedent of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections being held on different dates. Prasad pointed out that in 2007 the first phase of Gujarat elections were held on 21 November while in Himachal Pradesh the respective date was 20 October. In 2012, the first phase of Gujarat elections were held on 17 November while in Himachal elections were held on 10 October.

"I don't need to say who was in the power in 2007 and 2012," he said.

The Congress had alleged that the BJP had knowingly exerted influence on the poll panel to withhold poll dates in Gujarat to negotiate a window for Modi's mega rally in state capital Gandhinagar scheduled for next week, where he is expected to "announce mega sops." The Congress party alleged that if the poll dates were announced before Modi's visit then, he would have gone there in the capacity of a campaigner. The model code of conduct would have kicked in and the prime minister would not have been able to make populist announcements.

Joti, however, argued that the Gujarat government had told the Election Commission that it needed time to complete relief work before the model code is enforced following the July floods.

Joti said the imposition of Model Code with immediate effect would stop all government work and there was no need to prolong it beyond the required period.

The CEC said elections to the two states were announced separately in the past too including in 1993, 1994 and 2002.

Kerala political killings

Touching upon the political killings in Kerala, Prasad said that the epicentre of violence in the state was unfortunately the native village of the Kerala chief minister himself. "There have been 14 killings in Pinarayi alone, after Pinarayi Vijayan took over as the chief minister of the state. It is his moral responsibility to bring an end to this violence," Prasad added.

He also blamed the Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPM) for promoting the politics of violence. He said that the Left-wing party's ideology steadily believes in taking on their political opponents through violence.

"The Communists believe in only one thing. Whoever opposes their ideology will be contained through violence and attack," said Prasad.

"People should have the right to decide whether or not the lotus will bloom in Kerala," Prasad added.

Kerala Solar scam

Prasad also raked up the solar scam issue in Kerala and said that the commission who has accused Oommen Chandy of corruption in the case was set up by him only. He also demanded a "proper, fair and time-bound enquiry" into the scam, adding that their was often a "tacit understanding" between the LDF and the UDF in Kerala.

"Former Kerala Chief Minister Omen Chandy and many in the then state government are the ones behind the Solar Scam. The base of Congress is corruption. We demand an proper, fair and time-bound investigation in the Kerala solar scam," he said.

Prasad said that it was extremely important to establish the role of Chandy and others had in the solar scam. It was the Chandy government which had set up the Justice Sivarajan commission which has held him guilty, he said.

Corruption in Congress' DNA 

He also used the scam to slam the Congress party, saying that the "accounts of corruption" from the 70-year-long tenure of the grand old party are yet to be cleared. "There are five elements in life, sky, earth, water, fire and underworld, and the Congress party has not spared even one of these elements from its corruption," Prasad said.

"Taking measures against corruption has never been a part of the DNA of the Congress," Prasad said, adding, forget Manmohan Singh's silence on the corruption in his own cabinet, even Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, who were the supreme leaders in the party did nothing to curtail it.

"The whole DNA of congress has been reeking of corruption," the BJP leader said.

Prasad also did not leave an opportunity to mock Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who was campaigning in Gujarat recently. Taking a dig at the series of temple visits made by the Congress vice-president, Prasad said that Rahul's new-found belief in god was a curious development. He advised the Gandhi scion that votes are not showered in blessings at temples but are given by people, who would remember to question his politics and his party's work in the state.

Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.

Updated Date: Nov 23, 2017 19:09:20 IST