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The Congress today, (Saturday, October 6) questioned the independence of the Election Commission when the poll panel changed the timing of its press conference to announce dates for assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana.

The Election Commission had first scheduled the press conference to announce the dates at 12:30 pm. However, an hour later, the timing of the announcement was shifted to 3 pm.

The EC said this was done for the convenience of journalists so that they can reach in time and to make arrangements for the conference and take care of other logistics.

The Congress, however, alleges the decision to delay the announcement might have a link to Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s rally in Ajmer in BJP-ruled Rajasthan at 1 pm, where Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s state-wide yatra ahead of the polls will conclude.

As soon as the Election Commissioner OP Rawat announces the dates, the Model Code of Conduct will come into force, following which the state government cannot announce any new schemes.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted: “3 Facts- Draw your own conclusions. 1. ECI announces a PC at 12.30 today to announce elction dates to the 5 states. 2. PM Modi is addressing a rally in Ajmer, Rajasthan at 1 PM today. 3. ECI suddenly changes the time of announcement and PC to 3 PM. Independence of ECI?”

Former BJP leader and finance minister in Vajpayee government Yashwant Sinha also questioned the EC, tweeting: “Unfortunate that Election Commission postponed announcement of election dates in 5 states only to enable Modi to address his public meeting in Ajmer, Rajasthan. Very sad.”

The BJP claims PM Modi’s rally to have a turnout of three lakhs.

Ajmer district has eight assembly constituencies and seven of them are represented by BJP legislators while the Congress has one seat, Nasirabad.

Earlier this year, the BJP had lost the Ajmer Lok Sabha constituency to Congress in by-polls held after the demise of the sitting MP Sanwarlal Jat. The BJP fielded his son Ramswaroop Lamba, who lost the election.

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