The Election Commission of India (ECI) has took severe exception to accusations levelled by several opposition leaders that the delay in announcing poll schedule was to suit Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll campaign schedule under the guise of launching various projects. Strongly responding to this accusation, the ECI asserted that “We have our own schedule. We don’t operate as per PM schedule”.
It was on March 5, five years ago, when the ECI had announced schedule for General Elections 2014. Taking note of this, several Opposition parties pointed to the delay in poll schedule for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and insinuated that the EC is working in tandem with the Centre- by allowing the Modi-government an extended window to announce sops and launch schemes while touring.
A senior official of the ECI refuting such apprehensions, said that this time, the dates allow for a slightly more relaxed schedule. “In 2014, the last date of delivering results for General Elections was May 31, and the poll schedule was announced on March 5. This time, the last date to deliver results for General Elections is June 3, so we have enough time and there is no delay,” he added.
The term of the 16th Lok Sabha expires on June 3 and so the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha must be held by June 3, as the first session of the last one was held on June 4- which presumably gives EC ample time to announce the poll schedule.