BJP protests early imposition of poll code


Ahmedabad : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Gujarat Thursday protested imposition of the moral code of conduct 46 days ahead of the assembly polls.

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Making a representation before an Election Commission team, on a two-day visit here to oversee election preparations, the BJP said the 46-day code of conduct was “harsh” on the state and pointed out that the maximum period was not more than 33 days in polls conducted in other parts of the country.

The extended duration would hurt the developmental process in the state, said Jayantibhai Barot, who led a BJP delegation.

The Commission Wednesday announced the poll schedule for Gujarat, with voting on Dec 11 and Dec 16, and made the code of conduct effective for the state.

The opposition Congress urged the Commission to recall all state cadre officials serving outside Gujarat and draft them on poll duties as was done in Bihar and elsewhere.

Congress legislator Shaktisinh Gohil told the Commission team that the officers had opted for deputation with the central government, as they could not serve the state under Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The Commission also met representatives of the Bahaman Samaj Party (BSP), the Lokshakti Janata Party, the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Nationalist Communist Party (NCP).

The non-BJP representatives asked the Commission to see that the moral code of conduct was enforced strictly.

Nalin Bhatt, a BJP rebel leader who recently joined BSP, urged the Commission to put a stop to the operations of Vande Gujarat, a TV channel launched recently that was airing the state government’s achievements.

Ashok Goswami of the NCP urged the Commission to direct the state government to provide easy access to any voter wishing to approach the state election commission office.

The office located next to the state assembly complex was unapproachable in view of the security cordon around the area.

The party also called upon the Commission to deploy paramilitary forces from outside the state to maintain vigilance in the identified sensitive areas.