Ministers shower sops minutes before EC declares poll dates

This was done barely a few minutes before the Election Commission (EC) announced the poll schedule on Wednesday, inviting the ire of EC officials. The big question is why a series of launches and public utility services were announced few minutes before the EC announcements on general election dates. Political leaders are questioning why ministers were sitting on the schemes and the launches for months.

It was learnt that around 10.17 am, the minister of youth affairs and sports Jitendra Singh launched the community connect scheme at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Indira Gandhi Sports Complex and the Syama Prasad Mukherjee Swimming Complex.

A visibly proud Singh was heard saying: ‘The academy shall cater to the identification and nurturing of young talent at both sub-junior and junior levels and the training of elite athletes on a run up to their preparations for international and national competitions.’

It didn’t stop there. He went on to inaugurate the Sports Authority of India-National Cycling Academy around 10.19 am. This too happened very close to the time when VS Sampath announced the dates.

Finally, around 10.21 am, the minister of youth affairs and sports heaved a sigh of relief after he launched the project to build swimming pools at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Indira Gandhi Sports Complex and Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range just nine minutes before Sampath started announcing poll dates. He claimed that the total estimated cost of the project is Rs. 907.50 lakhs.

The ministry of petroleum and natural gas proved to a ‘slow bolt’ as compare to Singh and stood second in the race. Around 10.26 am, a unique value added service from Bharat Petroleum called ‘Dial Bharatgas Mini’ was announced, four minutes before the EC has announced the dates. The ministry’s statement reads: ‘Dial Bharatgas Mini is a novel offering - as easy and convenient as ordering for a pizza. People desirous of availing a Bharatgas Mini (5 kg cylinder) can dial the toll free number 1800224344   and order a new connection or a refill cylinder.’
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