Modi road show raises political heat

EC acting as govt's puppet, charges Cong

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's impromptu "road show" in Ahmedabad after casting his vote raised political heat, with the Congress accusing the Election Commission of acting as a "puppet" of the government for failing to take action against the prime minister.

Modi, who came to cast his vote at Nishan High School in Ranip area of Sabarmati constituency, took the blessings of elder brother Somabhai Modi and later acknowledged a massive crowd gathered outside the booth. He walked on the road with his inked finger raised and later climbed on to his vehicle, continuing to acknowledge the crowd shouting "Modi, Modi..."

This, the Congress complained, was nothing but a road show and against the model code of conduct.

Attack on poll panel

In its sharpest attack on the Election Commission, the Congress dubbed the poll authority a "frontal organisation of the BJP", prompting an equally harsh retort from the BJP.

"You loved it when the same EC declared Ahmed Patel a winner in the Rajya Sabha poll... Isn't it too much to expect the EC to act as Parivar's Darbaris (courtiers of the family)?" BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said on Twitter.

The Election Commission rejected Congress' allegations and said it would take a call after examining the complaint filed by the Opposition party on the alleged violation of model code of conduct.

The 'road show' also figured in a meeting of political parties convened by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar on the eve of the Winter Session of Parliament that was attended by Modi.

The prime minister did not discuss the issue at the all-party meeting, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma told reporters. Senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge said the Opposition parties would raise the issue during the Winter Session beginning Friday.

Earlier, AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot accused the poll panel of failing to act against the prime minister.

"It was an election campaign. The EC, it seems, is working under pressure from the prime minister and PMO," Gehlot said.

EC 'sleeping'

While senior Congress leader P Chidambaram accused the Election Commission of "sleeping on the job", activists of the youth and women's wing of the party took out a protest march at the poll authority headquarters, demanding action against the prime minister.

"It seems the EC is blind. They cannot see Modi openly and brazenly violating the model code of conduct. This shows how unfortunately the EC has become a captive puppet of the BJP," Randeep Surjewala, in-charge of the AICC communication department, told reporters here.

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