Taking umbrage at the claim made by the Congress that the recently launched direct cash transfer project is a ‘game-changer,’ the Bharatiya Janata Party has petitioned the Election Commission (EC), asking it to direct the government to ‘withdraw’ the announcement till the completion of the election process in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

A high-level BJP delegation, led by senior leader L.K. Advani, submitted a memorandum to the EC, outlining their objections to the direct cash transfer announcement.Four of the 51 districts chosen for the first phase of the project are in Gujarat. The full roll-out that will start from January 1 will target a specific set of subsidies. The government expects to cover all subsidies for the BPL families by the end of next year.

The BJP team, which included Leaders of the Opposition in Parliament, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, contended that the timing of the announcement violated the code of conduct, which is in vogue in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

The BJP memorandum said:

“But it appears to be the sinister intention of the government to use this for influencing the voters in Gujarat. The Union Ministers themselves are claiming that this decision will be a game-changer. Announcements of game-changer decisions are rarely timed without any expectation of a gain or major fallout.

“In this instant case, the Union government cannot be unaware of the clear stipulation outlined in para VII — party in power — (VI) (a) of the model code of conduct during elections, which states that the party in power shall not announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof.”