New Delhi: Former Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram addresses a press conference at AICC in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI Photo by Kamal Singh(PTI9_27_2017_000111A)

The Election Commission (EC) has finally broken its silence for the first time on the controversy surrounding a delay in announcing the dates for the Gujarat polls. EC asserted that imposing the model code of conduct in the state would disrupt flood relief operations.

Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat said that the body already knew that it would be criticized for the call but said that they went ahead with the move anyway.

“There was no time to weigh other alternatives,” Rawat was quoted saying in the interview. Rawat reportedly said that the EC had visited Gujarat between October 9 and 10, saying that they were aware that “there would be motives attributed” to not announcing the dates, but that the body had to look at the “ground reality first”.

This explanation came after Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram criticized the Election Commission in sarcastic tweets on Friday morning, alleging that by delaying an announcement of elections in Gujarat, it has “authorized” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do so once the ruling BJP has doled out “all concessions and freebies.”

“EC will be recalled from its extended holiday after Gujarat government has announced all concessions and freebies,” tweeted Mr. Chidambaram on last Friday.

The BJP has already dismissed the Congress allegation, with the party’s Shahnawaz Hussain saying, “The Congress is really very frustrated by its failure. They are putting a question mark on the EC as they look for excuses that they will make when they are defeated. That is why P Chidambaram Ji is giving such statements on Twitter.”

Even the PM Narendra Modi lashed out at the Congress, saying, “The party that gave so many leaders to the nation now focuses only on spreading lies. They create an atmosphere of pessimism.”

-with inputs from Outlook Express.


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