The Congress on December 5 alleged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a voter in Ahmedabad, converted his visit to a polling booth into a two-and-a-half hour roadshow on polling day and questioned the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) “silence” over it.
Addressing a press conference, Pawan Khera, who heads the Congress’ publicity wing, said that the party would take legal recourse to “prevail” upon the ECI to add the roadshow to the BJP’s election expenditure.
“During the process of the polling, the Prime Minister, who goes to cast his vote in Ahmedabad, decides to do a roadshow. Two-and-half-hours covered live by all our channels, free of cost. Is this not an advertisement?” Mr. Khera asked.
Over the past several weeks, Mr. Khera said, the Congress had complained to the poll panel over violations of its guidelines by the BJP but the ECI was “willingly under pressure”.
“We will take necessary steps and prevail upon the Election Commission of India through whatever legal means possible to ensure that such publicity comes under the purview of election expenditure of the party,” he said.
Mr. Khera also charged the ECI of downplaying the threat to the Congress’ tribal candidate and sitting MLA from the Danta Assembly constituency, Kantibhai Kharadi.
“He [Mr. Kharadi] wrote to the EC seeking additional security because he apprehended a threat to his life. By evening, he was attacked by 24 people, goondas (thugs) of the BJP. I have no qualms in admitting this and he had to take cover of the forest at night when we finally rescued him at 2 o’ clock in the morning. The Election Commission did not pay timely attention to his pleas,” Mr. Khera alleged.