Mallikarjun Kharge's letter on poll data draws ECI ire: 'Highly undesirable…exercise caution' | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Mallikarjun Kharge's letter on poll data draws ECI ire: 'Highly undesirable…exercise caution'

May 10, 2024 04:05 PM IST

The Election Commission of India has strongly criticised Mallikarjun Kharge, the Congress president, for questioning the integrity of the electoral process.

In a strong-worded letter to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday expressed deep concern over his recent statement questioning the integrity of the electoral process. The letter admonished Kharge for his attack on the credibility of the electoral processes, which the poll body deemed as potentially detrimental to voter participation.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge. (PTI File Photo)(HT_PRINT)
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge. (PTI File Photo)(HT_PRINT)

“Commission fully respects the right to free speech and considers it to be the privilege of political parties and their leaders to correspond and communicate with each other. However, the Commission has a responsibility to act against developments which have a direct impact on delivery of its core mandate of conduct of elections in its entirety till delivery of results,” the ECI said.

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On Tuesday, Mallikarjun Kharge wrote to the leaders of various parties of the opposition INDIA bloc, questioning the alleged discrepancies in the voting data released by the Election Commission. Kharge urged the INDIA bloc leaders to raise their voice against such alleged discrepancies, for "our only objective is to protect the culture of a vibrant democracy and the Constitution".

Several opposition parties have raised questions about the delay in releasing the polling data by the EC.

Sharing his letter on X, Kharge said, "My letter to the leaders of INDIA parties, regarding the discrepancies in the voting data released by Election Commission of India and non-publishing of registered voters."

Kharge's letter to leaders of the INDIA bloc was deemed highly undesirable by the ECI. Terming the Congress president's assertions as an "aggression on vitals of live election operations," the Election Commission asserted that such baseless allegations are aimed at sowing confusion and disrupting the smooth conduct of the electoral process.

The Commission categorically rejected Kharge's contentions, dismissing them as insinuations and innuendos lacking any factual basis. It asserted that there have been no lapses or deviations in the collection and dissemination of voter turnout data, providing detailed point-by-point rebuttals to refute Kharge's claims.

"Through innuendos and insinuations, the contents of the post, tend to create disharmony in respect of the delicate space of election management, can plant doubts in the mind of the voters and political parties and potentially creates an anarchic situation, when you said "could this be an attempt to doctor the final results?" which this Commission hopes, you do not have any intention of," it said.

“Commission has found your communication placed in public domain in the middle of the ongoing election process as highly undesirable and one that appears designed to create confusion / misdirection / impediment to the conduct of smooth, free and fair elections which is the mandate of ECI under the constitution,” the letter said, advising the Congress chief to “exercise caution and refrain in making such statements.”

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