13/10/2017 2:43 PM IST | Updated 13/10/2017 2:49 PM IST

Delay In Gujarat Poll Date Announcement Creates 'Ground Of Suspicion', Says Former Chief Election Commissioner

"Mr. Modi’s visit to Gujarat next week creates a ground of suspicion and it's unfortunate."

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
GURGAON, INDIA - JANUARY 6: Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner of India, addresses the media at his home in sector-17 B, on January 6, 2017 in Gurgaon, India. (Photo by Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The decision to announce polling dates for Himachal Pradesh, but not for Gujarat, has raised serious questions against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi as well as the Opposition have alleged that this delay is to accommodate Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Gujarat next week. Once election dates are announced, the model code of conduct disallows the announcement of any new government projects or benefits.

"What were the compulsions of EC to announce the poll dates for Himachal and not Gujarat? They must have some good reasons to justify this," said Quraishi to journalists on Thursday. "Mr. Modi's visit to Gujarat next week creates a ground of suspicion and it's unfortunate."

The term for the present state governments in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat ends in January 2018. While the election commission (EC) on Thursday announced the polling date for Himachal Pradesh--November 9--no date has been set for Gujarat yet, raising eyebrows.

Congress spokesperson Randeep S Surjewala alleged that the BJP government was putting pressure on the EC for the party's gain.

Meanwhile BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said that the opposition party's statements were "unfortunate."

"It would have been okay if a small political group would have said this statement," he said. "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."

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