Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge Writes To EC Again Amid Voter Turn Out Data Row

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge Writes To EC Again Amid Voter Turn Out Data Row

Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday wrote a letter to the Election Commission, responding to the accusations hurled upon him by it of creating impediments in the conduct of free and fair elections.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Saturday, May 11, 2024, 06:37 PM IST
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Mallikarjun Kharge | File

New Delhi: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday wrote a letter to the Election Commission, responding to the accusations hurled upon him by it of creating impediments in the conduct of free and fair elections.

In his letter, he said: "The letter even though an open letter is clearly addressed to our alliance partners and not to the commission." "It is surprising that the Election Commission wanted to respond to this letter while ignoring several other complaints given directly to it," Kharge said.

"I have certain misgivings on the language of the letter, but I will not press on that issue as I understand the pressure they are working under," he said. "I am happy that the commission understands that it has the mandate to conduct smooth, free and fair elections under the Constitution. However, the lack of urgency shown by the commission in taking action against blatantly communal and casteist statements being made by the leaders of the ruling party that vitiates the electoral process seems puzzling," Kharge further said.

I am also puzzled by the need to write that the "Commission is not legally bound to publish any voter turnout data at ggregate level of a contituency or state," though it is factual. I am sure many voters of our country would be surprised too. Many voters who are deeply interested in the elections would also like to see the absolute number of votes polled to be put out in the public domain by the commission directly, he added.

He said the Congress is on the side of the poll body and stands for its sstrength and independence. "Finally, I would like to say I am disappointed that the commission did not quote another line from the letter which said "It should be our collectiv endeavour to safeguard Democracy and protect the independent functioning of the ECI." To make it more clear, the Congress is on the side of the commission and stands for the strength and independence of the commission. The officials of the commission should now decide where they stand," reads the letter.

Kharge's reply comes a day after the EC accused him of creating impediments in the conduct of free and fair elections and said his allegations are unwarranted, without facts and "reflective of a biased and deliberate attempt to spread confusion."

In his previous letter to INDIA bloc leaders, Kharge had highlighted the delay in the release of the final voting prcentage for the initial phases of the Lok Sabha elections, suggesting that such delays cast doubts on the credibility of the data provided by it.

He questioned the rationale behind EC's delay in releasing the voter turnout data for the first two phases, which were made public 11 days after the first phase and 4 days after the second phase. He sought clarification from the EC on the reasons for the delay.

Kharge called upon the bloc leaders to collectively voice their concerns against discrepancies, stressing the significance of upholding Democracy and ensuring the impartial functioning of the election commision. He expressed apprehensions about potential attempts to manipulate the final results, alleging that the ruling party, led by PM Modi and the BJP, might resort to extreme measures to maintain power.

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