NEW DELHI: Calling it a violation of election norms, the BJP has raised a strong objection over Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi giving interviews to media channels even as the party has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission for the same.
A day before the polling for the second and the last phase in Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi appeared on several local news channels, including ABP Asmita, in a move termed as 'breach of poll code' by the ruling BJP.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal, while addressing a press conference at party headquarters, said that it was not permitted to give an interview to TV channels in the poll-bound state during last 48 hours of the election process.
"According to my understanding of the Model Code of Conduct, giving interviews to channels in Gujarat is not permitted. We consulted the Election Commission and it also said that it is not allowed to give interviews during 48 hours before the close of elections," Goyal said.
He said being a national party, Congress, should not have violated the election norms.
ALSO READ: Rahul says Gujarat election this time is a one-sided contest, results will leave BJP surprised
"The Congress seems to be so afraid about the outcome of Assembly elections that it has dared to breach the Model Code of Conduct," he said.
Meanwhile, the Congress, launching a counter-offensive, said the BJP is using the EC as a tool for its political gains demeaning the institution.
"When Rahul Gandhi gave interviews to a few Gujarati news channels, the BJP, in the name of Election Commission, threatened to jail the journalists of those channels for broadcasting it. We condemn this arrogant behavior of BJP," Randeep Surjewala, Congress media in-charge, said.
He said the EC should take cognizance of such kind of "childish threats" by the ruling BJP, and issue a notice to its leaders for threatening the people in EC's name.
"Will the BJP now drop the criteria of politics at this level that it will start to threaten to send journalists to jail for airing Rahul Gandhi's interview?" he said.
The Congress leader also pointed out the BJP released its manifesto a day ahead of the first phase of polling in the state on December 9.
"For the record, in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also gave an interview to a channel a day prior to voting. If that was not a violation of Model Code of Conduct, how could Rahul Gandhi's interview be?" he added.
The last phase of polling in the state is scheduled for Thursday.