BJP leader and Union Minister in PMO Jitendra Singh also took on Congress and wrote in the micro blogging site: "Chidambaram's allegation of BJP govt influencing EC on Gujarat poll dates based on his UPA experience to use EC for ruling party interest". BJP spokesman Mr Rao suggested that criticism of the EC has come from senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, known for his affinity to the Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi.
This shows the "cronies" are getting irked over the possibility of defeat in Gujarat, he said. The Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Gandhinagar said the comments from former Home Minister were not appropriate and said the Congress party was scared of the electoral battle in the western state. "I think Chidambaram and the entire Congress are scared of the upcoming Gujarat Elections," he said.
Senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy also directed his ire against Mr Chidambaram and tweeted stating, "PC has tweeted I am told that Gujarat election date has not been announced because BJP is scared!! Forgotten Const Art 324?," said Dr Swamy - known for his rivalry with Mr Chidambaram. The Article 324 of The Constitution Of India says that superintendence, direction and power control of elections is vested with the Election Commission.
Earlier in the day, taking a jibe at the Election commission for not announcing dates for assembly elections in Gujarat along with Himachal Pradesh, former Home Minister Chidambaram has said that the EC has authorised PM Narendra Modi to announce dates for Gujarat elections at his last rally.
BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao also defended the Election Commission's decision of not announcing the Gujarat poll dates with that of the Himachal Pradesh assembly election, saying the model code of conduct is expected to be in force for not more than 45 days and the election in the western state was expected in December. "Chidambaram seems to have a jaundiced view. Sonia Gandhi, as an extra-constitutional authority, had subverted institutions and remote-controlled Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a democrat and does not interfere in the functioning of any institutions". Last week, the Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had also said EC had its reasons for not announcing the poll dates as elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat were also held separately in 2007 and 2012.
The EC has already announced election calendar for Himachal Pradesh and voting in the Congress-ruled hilly state will take place on November 9. The term of Gujarat assembly ends on January 22, 2018 while for Himachal Pradesh it is January 7. Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti had cited relief and rehabilitation of the flood-affected in Gujarat as one of the principal factors that influenced the decision to delay poll announcement in the state. (UNI)