Jaipur (Rajasthan): Just before the Model Code of Conduct came into effect following the announcement of Rajasthan Assembly Election 2018 dates by the Election Commission, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje announced free electricity for the farmers in the state. The move wouldn’t have been possible had the poll conduct was issued before her declaration as the Model Code of Conduct bars political parties from making any policy announcements.Also Read - Udaipur Beheading: Probe Indicates Accused Linked To Pakistan's Dawat-e-Islami

Soon after Vasundhara Raje announced free electricity to the farmers, Rajasthan Congress President Sachin Pilot attacked the Chief Minister saying the Rajasthan government did not think of providing it in the last five years but just before the election dates were made public. “Half an hour before election dates, free electricity was announced. You did not remember this for five years? This shows how desperate they (BJP) are,” Pilot said. Also Read - Uddhav Thackeray's Facebook Live Address; Key Takeaways

A few days before, Vasundhara Raje had announced a 4 per cent reduction in Value-added tax (TAX) on petrol and diesel. The 4 per cent reduction in VAT deducted the petrol and diesel prices by Rs 2.5 per litre in Rajasthan. The VAT on petrol was reduced from 30 to 26 per cent and on diesel from 22 to 18 per cent, Rajasthan Chief Minister Raje announced at a public gathering in Rawatsar in Hanumangarh district. Also Read - Maharashtra Govt Renames Aurangabad As Fate of Uddhav Thackeray Hangs in Balance

Earlier in the day, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala lambasted the Election Commission for allegedly deferring the announcement of Assembly election dates by three hours in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Ajmer. Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Surjewala questioned the Election Commission’s independence and accused it of changing the timing of a press conference to accommodate Narendra Modi’s rally.

“Three facts- Draw your own conclusions. ECI announces a PC at 12.30 today (Saturday) to announce election dates to the 5 states. PM Modi is addressing a rally in Ajmer, Rajasthan at 1 p.m. today. ECI suddenly changes the time of announcement and PC to 3 p.m. Independence of ECI?,” Congress chief Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted.

Reacting to the criticism, the EC, in a statement, said, “Prime concern was for the convenience of all of you media persons to reach in time at short notice of morning message and arranging logistics here.”