Mudda panel divided on whether EC announcement of Gujarat election date was motivated, feels BJP may lose seats this time around

The Election Commission’s announcement of the date of the Gujarat assembly elections and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s declaration of his plan to pump in a huge sum of money to revive the banking system so as to tackle the NPA accounts and slew of upcoming development projects, including a nationwide road network, were discussed during Mudda, a popular show on the APN news channel.

The Union cabinet has approved a massive recapitalisation plan for public sector banks worth Rs 2.11 lakh crore. The government has claimed a 7.5 percent GDP growth in the last three years. The finance minister has also announced a huge plan for developing a wider road network and creating jobs.

The Election Commission of India has on Wednesday announced the polling schedule for the Gujarat assembly elections. Polling will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14 while counting will be held on December 18, together with the votes cast in the Himachal Pradesh assembly election.

The spokespersons for BJP and Congress parties, political analysts, economists and experts participated in the debates, equally divided into 30 minutes each. The show begins at 2pm and ends at 3pm every day.

Among those who participated in the debate were Govind Pant Raju, the consulting editor of APN, Atul Chandra, political analyst, SK Verma, former observer at the Election Commission, Ashok Goyal, spokesman for BJP and Hilal Naqvi of Congress. Anant Tyagi was the anchor of the programme.

Discussing the Election Commission’s announcement of the Gujarat election schedule, Raju said that a late announcement will definitely be helpful for the BJP because of the extra time that got which they utilised in announcing sops. However, he said that the EC move should not be seen through a political lens.

He was of the opinion that the forthcoming Gujarat assembly election would be different for the BJP as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah will be unable to focus on campaigning due to their responsibilities at the centre. On the other hand, the Congress was upbeat after the election of Ahmed Patel to the Rajya Sabha. Though, it was anybody’s guess why he is not being seen around Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on the campaign trail.

Verma, too, said the late announcement of the Gujarat election should not be seen as politically motivated. However, he said that it was better if the commission could announce the dates along with the Himachal Pradesh election.

Naqvi was critical of the Election Commission saying that the election schedule was announced within 12 hours of the last announcement by the BJP government. He indicated that this had been delayed for political reasons. He also said that the Congress was happy at the departure of Shankarsinh Vaghela.  He claimed that Rahul is steering the party’s campaign in Gujarat in the right direction and there was no differences as to who should be at the helm.

However, Ashok Goyal of BJP claimed that the Election Commission had been influenced by the government. He alleged that the Congress has a long experience of influencing constitutional bodies during its long rule in the country. He claimed that the BJP was fully united and organised and pre-poll surveys have indicated that it is his party which will win the Gujarat elections.

The second part of the show was focused on the central government’s move to provide Rs 2.11 lakh crore to the banks to rescue the economy. The experts expected that this will definitely create many jobs throughout the country. Raju opined that the package seems large but its benefits might not reach the common people.

Naqvi presented details of the non-performing assets status during the Congress government and compared it with the situation under the present government. He said that there were NPAs worth Rs 36,000 crore at the end of the UPA rule while the same has now reached Rs 8 lakh crore under the BJP government.

-Compiled by MA Kazmi