New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi cast his vote in Ahmedabad’s Rapin around noon on Thursday but the simple act of voting turned into a campaign event of sorts as Modi walked for a good five minutes on the road after having cast his vote. The Congress immediately latched onto the opportunity claiming the PM had violated the poll code and said they would “expose the double standards” of the EC in not punishing the PM for his alleged violation.
The PM reached Ahmedabad airport around 11.45 am and made his way to a polling booth in Rapin area of Ahmedabad. Thousands gathered outside the polling booth and stood for hours in anticipation of the PM’s visit.
Modi arrived around noon and was welcomed by loud cheers as he made his way to the polling booth.
“The Prime Minister’s roadshow only proves that BJP and Narendra Modi have accepted their defeat in Gujarat. His activities indicate that he somehow still wants to be significant during the Gujarat elections. The EC has sidelined itself from all Constitutional responsibilities and liabilities,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surejewala.
Launching a frontal attack on the Chief Election Commissioner, Surjewala said, “The CEC may have been the former personal secretary to the current Prime Minister, he may have served as an official in the state of Gujarat, but as CEC we expected him to discharge his duty neutrally. The EC has become a puppet of the BJP. We urge the EC to uphold the Constitution and not act as a subservient wing of the BJP.”
As the PM stood in line with other voters in the area, his SPG security detail faced some difficulty to maintain protocol, with one particularly enthusiastic voter jumping the queue to get close to Modi.
He even fell at Modi’s feet and caused a minor bump in the security arrangements as the SPG personnel scrambled to pull the man away from the Prime Minister.
After casting his vote, Modi exited the booth but instead of going straight to his car, as all other VIP voters had done through the day, the Prime Minister chose to walk on the road. He walked for a few kilometres as he turned this into a mini-roadshow, waving to cheering supporters.
Modi walked for a good five minutes and eventually, flashed the indelible ink mark on his finger for the cameras. He then got into his car and left the area.
In a sharp criticism of the entire act, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram tweeted: “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?”
AICC Gujarat in-charge Ashok Gehlot, while addressing a press conference in Delhi, said, “When the Prime Minister holds a roadshow in Gujarat after voting, what lessons will the country draw from this? The rules and laws are being openly flouted in Gujarat and the whole country is watching this.”
This comes after the Election Commission sent a notice to Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi for giving an interview to television channels.
Surjewala said, “Why has the Election Commission turned a blind eye towards Amit Shah's press conference on Wednesday at a public place like the Ahmedabad airport.
The Chief Election Commissioner, Achal Kumar Joti, who worked as the chief secretary to then CM Narendra Modi, continues to act like Modi's personal secretary, despite him holding a Constitutional post. The EC had on Wednesday promised that they will take action against PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, who violated the Model Code of Conduct. Today, though, the EC is saying that they will take action after polling closes.”