BJP Officials Go on Spending Drive in Gujarat After Delay in Poll Date Announcement

With the date of the Gujarat assembly poll yet to be announced, the model code of conduct has not kicked in.

New Delhi: After the Election Commission (EC) on Thursday failed to announce the exact dates for the Gujarat elections – meaning the model code of conduct (MCC) is not in force – the BJP announced sops worth hundreds of crores.

According to a report in the Indian Express, the standing committee of the BJP-ruled Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) was convened on Friday to finalise a mega event for Sunday where Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani is expected to inaugurate development works worth Rs 780 crore.

Similarly, the BJP-ruled Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation on Friday (AMC) extended its standing committee meeting by an hour and a half to clear projects worth Rs 530 crore in just ten minutes.

The AMC today also concluded the ninth ‘Shahri Garib Kalyan Mela’ in Ahmedabad where of a total 4103 beneficiaries, 3262 were given kits including cheques, funds and bonds under the ‘Manav Garima Yojana’, reported the Indian Express.

In Vadodara, the VMC cleared 59 development projects this week, of which road projects itself are worth Rs 47.50 crore.

According to the Indian Express report, among the schemes cleared is a Rs 165.75-crore project for providing drinking water to the city from Mahi river at a capacity of 150 million litres per day and the beautification of the Sursagar Lake at a cost of Rs 38 crore.

Election Commission. Credit: PTI

The projects also include widening of the Kalaghoda Bridge, a flyover on the Sussen Crossroads, a storm water drain parallel to the national highway on the east zone of the city as well as approval for a budget of Rs 15 lakh to “settle a court case” in the matter of non-payment of electricity dues, the report in the Indian Express said.

The VMC proposal to provide services to Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art of Living Foundation event on October 19 stated: “The Lakshmi puja and satsang event is to be held at Polo ground on October 19 by the Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar. Since it is a religious festival, the municipal commissioner seeks power to extend logistical services to the foundation such as medical assistance, lighting, hoardings, banners and cut outs at no cost.”

Union home minister Rajnath Singh will visit Bardoli in Surat district today to attend the ‘Gujarat Gaurav Yatra’, which is due to conclude on Sunday and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the gathering at Gandhinagar on Monday. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath is expected to lead the yatra in Kutch district in the constituencies of Mandvi, Abdasa and Mundra.

On Thursday, the EC had announced the date of the assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh but not for Gujarat even thought the terms of both state assemblies end in January. However, it said elections in the state will be held by December 18.

“By deferring the announcement of the Gujarat elections, they have killed the prestige of the Election Commission,” former chief election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi told The Wire. “It has been normal practice for years that state elections falling within six months of each other are clubbed together by the Election Commission for the purposes of drawing up and announcing  the election schedule”, he had said.