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Gujarat election : More than 47 percent polling till 2 pm ; Congress calls EC a puppet

Gujarat election : More than 47 percent polling till 2 pm ; Congress calls EC a puppet

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 14 Dec 2017, 04:31 pm

Ahmedabad, Dec 14 (IBNS) Recording a moderate pace of polling, 47.40 percent Gujarat voters turned up to exercise their franchise till 2 pm in the second and final phase of state Assembly election on Thursday as the Congress made an unprecedented attack on the Election Commission accusing it of being a "puppet" of the BJP Government.

Till 12 pm, more than  39 percent of the electorate had cast votes.

Acrimony flew thick after the Election Commission issued a notice to Congress' President-elect Rahul Gandhi for an interview he gave to a television channel and Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit the streets  after casting his vote in a booth, drawing huge cheering partisan crowds.

The EC, in its notice, asked Gandhi to explain by Monday  why action should not be taken against  him  for violating provisions of model code of conduct  by giving the interview when elections are on.The EC's notice followed a complaint filed by the BJP.

Protesting the action, veteran Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram accused the poll panel of sleeping on  its job while other Congress leaders alleged that the EC was acting under the pressure of PM and his office.

Chidambaram also said that whatever the BJP is doing smacks of its "desperation" to win the Gujarat polls which in reality it stands to lose.

According to reports, Chidambaram questioned as to why BJP filed complaint against Rahul Gandhi for giving an interview to a television channel while Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a speech at a FICCI programme and  BJP President and the Railway Minister made interviews only on Wednesday.

"Yesterday, PM made a speech. BJP's President gave an interview. Railway Minister gave an interview. Why have all these escaped the EC's attention? Why pick on only Mr Rahul Gandhi's interview?" Chidambaram in a series of tweets.

"Allowing a roadshow of PM on voting day is a gross violation of code of conduct. It is an election campaign. What is the EC doing?" Chidambaram asked.

Earlier, the Election Commission had  issued a showcause notice on Wednesday to Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi after TV channels in poll-bound Gujarat aired his interview in alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

"Explain why action should not be taken against you for violating provisions of MCC, failing which Commission will decide matter without any further reference to you," said the notice issued to the Congress scion on the eve of the second and final phase of voting in Gujarat.

The second phase of the poll is taking place in north and central Gujarat.

Around 2.2 crore people will cast their vote in the last phase.

Prime Minister Modi urged all voters to turn up in large numbers. He tweeted: "Today is Phase 2 of the Gujarat elections. I request all those voting today to vote in record numbers and enrich this festival of democracy."

There are 182 seats in Gujarat in total. The first phase of the poll was held in 89 seats on Dec 9.

While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is fighting hard to retain their strong hold in the state, the Congress is trying to return to power after 22 years.

The Congress is fighting the election in an alliance with Hardik Patel-led Patidar Ananmat Andolan Samiti (PAAS).

The counting of votes will be held on Dec. 18.

The saffron-brigade is ruling the state since 1995.

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