Bhopal, April 21: The Madhya Pradesh election commission today postponed the Budhini Assembly bypoll, where chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan is in the fray.
The move ' which comes three days ahead of the election ' is a blow to Chauhan, who is looking to put the stamp of legitimacy on his chair.
The Opposition Congress today accused the ruling BJP of violating the election code of conduct, prompting the state’s chief electoral officer, Vijay Patidar, to defer the poll to May 3.
Patidar said he received complaints of misuse of official machinery, lavish expenses and state ministers using cars that did not carry proper registration numbers.
In the last few days, over 20 state ministers have been camping in Budhini, 70 km from Bhopal, round the clock. The Congress had alleged that the cost incurred was not being included in the candidate’s expenses.
Rebel BJP leader Uma Bharti, too, submitted some CDs to substantiate her charge of violation of code of conduct. She had asked how Budhini was receiving 24-hour power supply when the rest of the state was living in darkness.
The Congress demanded cancellation of Chauhan’s candidature for the byelection and his resignation from the chief minister’s post “on moral grounds”.
Earlier in the day, Chauhan had said the government was committed to extending full cooperation to the poll panel for holding free and fair elections.
The bypoll, once deemed a cakewalk for Chauhan, has already turned tricky with Uma propping up a candidate expected to eat heavily into BJP votes.
With her reputation at stake, the sadhvi is spending considerable time in Budhini, garnering support for the regional Gondwana Gantantra Party’s nominee, Gulzar Singh Markam.