BJP has violated poll code: Gehlot

‘Slips with symbol issued through PDS’

Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot on Monday accused the ruling BJP in Rajasthan of violating the model code of conduct for the Assembly elections by issuing paper slips with its election symbol, lotus, in the Public Distribution System and still carrying Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s photographs on the “Bhamashah” health insurance cards.

Mr. Gehlot said several instances of electoral officers stopping the acts of Ministers, which amounted to infringement of the code, had come to light after the Election Commission announced the polling dates on October 6. “The Kotputli sub-divisional officers had to stop a function in which Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria was distributing shawls. This is utterly shameful,” he said.

At a press conference here, Mr. Gehlot said the BJP seemed to have changed its strategy of election campaign by highlighting its election symbol instead of keeping Ms. Raje’s face in the front. “The BJP is seeking votes for ‘lotus’ rather than for Ms. Raje. The party had realised that there is a strong discontent with the Chief Minister … the voters cannot be deceived any more.”

Mr. Gehlot, former Chief Minister and AICC general secretary, questioned the wisdom of wasting public money on big programmes which did not result in any new venture or investment. The ‘Resurgent Rajasthan Summit’ of 2015 had failed to bring any investments which were promised, he said and asked if it was a “sham”.

Hitting out at Ms. Raje for her “failures on all fronts,” the Congress leader said her recent “Gaurav Yatra” would turn out to be her “Vidaai Yatra” (farewell march). Mr. Gehlot attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale fighter jet deal, saying it would “sink the Modi government”. “If we compare Mr. Modi’s previous speeches with what he is saying now, he is fully exposed and the Congress does not even need to campaign against him,” he said.

The Congress leader also criticised the BJP for trying to appropriate the icons of freedom movement by making references to Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel and B.R. Ambedkar 70 years after Independence. He said these leaders were the legacy of Congress, while the credit of their achievements was now being claimed by the Sangh Parivar.

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