Gujarat Elections: By Holding Road Show on Polling Day, PM Modi Taught Nation How to Respect Model Code of Conduct

Written by Tarique Anwar | Published on: December 15, 2017

After registering his vote in the Gujarat Assembly elections, he took a SUV ride and waved his inked finger to the crowd.

From 2014 to 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘taught the nation how the electoral model code of conduct (MCC) is respected’. After casting his vote in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he took a selfie along with his party’s symbol (the lotus) and today after registering his vote in the Gujarat Assembly elections, he took a SUV ride and waved his inked finger to the crowd.

PM Modi held a road show on polling day, this Thursday (13th December, 2017), after casting his vote at the Nishan High School (booth number 115) in Sabarmati's Ranip locality of Ahmedabad. He showed his inked finger to thousands of supporters who had gathered outside the polling booth, amid chants of “Modi… Modi” with the BJP flag fluttering in the background.

The prime minister walked a certain distance to greet people standing on both sides of the road outside the polling booth. Later, he stood on the foot-board of his car and waived to the crowd.

Modi -- who allegedly behaved more like a campaigner of his party than the prime minister of the country during the entire campaign in the state -- was seen waving to the crowd and showing victory sign in the road show.

Calling it a violation of the MCC, the Congress has knocked the door of the Election Commission, accusing the prime minister of holding a roadshow to ‘influence voters’ in the state.

“The Election Commission has become a puppet and constitutional norms are being violated. What is the reason that Amit Shah addressed the press meet at a public place like Ahmedabad airport, yet the Election Commission did not say anything. We demand that if EC has any shame for their position and the Constitution, they need to act,” said senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala alleging that the election watchdog has become a “frontal organisation of the BJP”.
“We would like to tell Modiji that roadshows and seaplanes will not change the Gujarat verdict,” he added.

Recalling Modi’s speech at the FICCI on Thursday, he said that the PM used industry body for political purposes and alleged that the EC never did anything.

However, the BJP is claiming that it was not an organised event but people had gathered there because they wanted to see Modi.

Hours before polling began, a political row erupted over Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s interview which was aired by a local television channel in Gujarat, allegedly violating the MCC. The BJP approached the EC complaining that the Congress chief violated the MCC. The EC has issued a notice to him.

Congress leader P Chidambaram also asked the EC, in a series of tweets , why it picked on the party’s president-elect Rahul Gandhi for giving media interviews while leaving out BJP leaders who did the same thing.

“Yesterday, Prime Minister 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 said.

The former finance and home minister said the BJP petitioning the EC is an act of “desperation”. An interview after the campaign ends, is a norm for every candidate and every campaigner in every election, he said.

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

A total of 2.2 crore electorate in 14 districts of north and central Gujarat will seal the fate of 851 candidates in the fray in 28,114 electronic voting machines (EVMs) at 25,558 polling stations in 93 constituencies in the second and final phase of assembly elections in the state on Thursday.

Though an average voter turnout till 12 noon has been recorded at 39%, the election process is expected to go up as the day progresses. With low turnout being reported from Ahmedabad and Juhapura, a Muslim-dominated seat, people at different places in Ahmedabad were seen creating awareness and urging members of housing societies to come out and vote in large numbers.

The temperature has gone down than it was in the first phase on December 9, when the state recorded more than 60% polling, it is believed that the turn out will improve after the day warms up.     

There were several complaints made to the Election Commission against the EVMs in and around Vadodara city. The polling was halted at many places because of the glitches in the voting machines. “With registration of 63 complaints of EVM glitches, 34 machines have been replaced,” Chief Election Commissioner BB Swain told the media.

There are reports of scuffle at Dhanera town in Banaskantha district, say the police, where the polling officials was attacked by a group.

Many political stalwarts, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Hardik Patel, Dalit rights activist Jignesh Mevani and OBC leader Alpesh Thakore, have cast their votes at different polling stations.

The BJP’s big challenge in this round is to retain Vadodara and Ahmedabad, the two big cities that backed the saffron party in the 2012 elections. The ruling party had won 26 of 31 seats from these two districts alone. Of the total 93 constituencies that are voting today, the saffron brigade had won 52 last time and the Congress had registered victory on 39 seats.

After losing its strongest support base of Patidars for failing to accept their demands of quota in education and government jobs and using force to scuttle their protest, the BJP is focussed on tribal belts (27 constituencies).

On the other hand, the Congress has attempted to harness the anger of key groups against the ruling party and has tied up with Jignesh Mevani, Alpesh Thakore and Hardik Patel.

The PAAS leader cast his vote in Viramgam and said, “Vote against those who oppressed us. I am confident that 6 crore Gujaratis will win on December 18 (the day of results).”

Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel is fighting from Patidars’ bastion of Mehsana, from where Hardik had launched his movement, against Jivabhai Patel of the Congress party in a razor-sharp contest. Jignesh is fighting from Vadgam as an independent candidate, with the Congress not fielding any candidate against him.

The ongoing elections are being seen as a battle between Hardik’s popularity and Amit Shah’s micro-management. Rahul Gandhi’s aggressive and extensive campaigning has rejuvenated the Congress, which has been out of power in the state for over two decades. The grand old party has also got a shot in the arm with young Patidar leader Hardik’s PAAS declaring support to it. The young leader not only turn into a star campaigner but also pulled huge crowds on the ground.

Meanwhile, in the so-called ‘dry’ state of Gujarat, the police and administration have seized around Rs 53 crore worth of goods for violation of the state’s liquor prohibition policy. The seizure was carried out as a special drive and a part of the election procedure.