New Delhi, October 6: Facing criticism from political parties over allegedly deferring its press conference to suit Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally in Ajmer, Rajasthan, sources in Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday said that it was done to facilitate the journalists and poll body officers, who complained of their inability to attend the press conference at a very short span of time. "It wasn't deliberately done to accommodate a political rally; we got numerous calls from journalists and polls officials after we announced at 10 a.m that a presser will be held at 12.30 p.m," said the ECI source. The presser was earlier scheduled to take place at 12.30 pm, but was postponed to 3:00 pm, following which several opposition leaders took to Twitter to question the ECI's independence and targeted it for allegedly towing to government's line. Assembly Elections 2018 Dates Today: Congress Questions Independence of ECI, Claims Time of Schedule Announcement Changed Due to Modi Rally in Rajasthan.
"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?" tweeted Randeep Surjewala of Congress Party.
"Under Article 324 of the Indian Constitution, #ECI is the custodian of 'Free&Fair' elections besides ensuring level-playing field..and this mandate is under darkest of the clouds under this regime.Jai Hind #ElectionCommission," RJD MP Manoj Jha tweeted.
But, the senior poll official refuted these allegations on the ECI's independence, saying that the country's election body is yet to finalise the Assembly poll dates and such accusations are only 'figment of imagination'. "The commission will be meeting at 2.30 p.m to finalise the poll dates and then announce it. The dates haven't been finalised yet," the senior official told ANI. Assembly Elections 2018 Dates Likely to be Announced by Election Commission For Polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram And Telangana Today.