With the announcement of the schedule for the by-polls to four of seven vacant seats in Gujarat, the Congress party on Saturday slammed the Election Commission of India (ECI) for not holding elections simultaneously to the rest of three vacant seats.
"Blatantly under the immense pressure from the BJP, the Election Commission will hold by-polls for four assembly seats in Gujarat even though seven seats are currently vacant. This is an unprecedented, unconstitutional and blatant attempt by the Election Commission to benefit the BJP," said state unit Congress chief Amit Chavda.
"I am confident the people of Gujarat will teach anti-people BJP government a lesson and vote in favour of the Congress," he added.
Earlier in the day, the poll body announced the schedule for by-polls to four Assembly seats - Tharad, Kheralu, Amraiwadi, and Lunawada.
Three more Assembly seats -- Talal, Morva Hadaf and Dwarka -- are also vacant but the schedule for by-poll to these seats has not been announced as these seats are caught in a legal tangle.
Minutes after the schedule was announced, state Congress chief Chavda took to Twitter to attack the EC. He accused it of working under the BJP's pressure.
By-polls to the four seats were necessitated after its sitting MLAs resigned following their election to the Lok Sabha.
Parbatbhai Patel, a Minister in Vijay Rup government, resigned from Tharad constituency in Banaskantha district after he was elected to the Lower House of Parliament from Banaskantha constituency.
Bharatsinh Dabhi won Patan Lok Sabha seat in north Gujarat. He was three-term MLA from Kheralu constituency.
Another MLA who resigned after his election to the Lok Sabha was H S Patel. An MLA from Amraiwadi, he was elected to Ahmedabad East parliamentary seat.
Ratansinh Rathod, who joined BJP after his election to state Assembly as an independent candidate, won Panchmahal Lok Sabha seat.
Talal, Morva Hadaf and Dwarka seats fell vacant after their respective MLAs were disqualified from the Assembly due to different reasons.
Talal MLA -- Bhagabhai Barad -- was disqualified after he was given a sentence of more than two years by a local court in a mining scam while Bhupendra Khant, the independent MLA from Morva Hadaf was disqualified for submitting an invalid caste certificate in his election affidavit.
Pabubha Manek, a BJP MLA from Dwarka, was declared disqualified by the Gujarat High Court, over a deficiency in his nomination form.
All the three MLAs are fighting the case in the court to save their membership of the state Assembly.
( With inputs from ANI )