Congress is with EC, it is for the poll panel to decide where it stands, says Kharge 

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge says he is surprised over the Election Commission’s reaction to his letter addressed to INDIA bloc partners

Updated - May 12, 2024 07:02 am IST

Published - May 11, 2024 06:00 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress president addresses a press conference in Patna on May 11, 2024.

Congress president addresses a press conference in Patna on May 11, 2024. | Photo Credit: ANI

Responding to the Election Commission’s (EC) rebuttal, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday said in a letter to the EC that Congress is on the side of it and it is for the officials of the EC to now decide where they stand.  

EC on Friday issued a public rebuttal to a letter written by Mr. Kharge to his colleagues in INDIA bloc on the alleged “discrepancies in the voting data” released by the election panel, calling it an “attempt to push a biased narrative under the guise of seeking clarifications.” 

Mr. Kharge said that it is “surprising” that the EC chose to respond to a letter addressed to “alliance partners” and not to the Commission while ignoring several other complaints given directly to it. He also stated that while he has “misgivings” about the language of the EC’s letter, he will not press on the issue.

“The letter on one hand says the EC respects citizen’s rights to ask questions and on the other hand threatens citizens in the form of an advise to exercise caution,” he said. 

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Mr. Kharge said that he is happy that the EC understands that it has the mandtate to conduct smooth, free and fair elections under the Constitution, yet he finds the “lack of urgency” in taking action against “blatantly communal and casteist statements” made by the the ruling party leaders “puzzling”. 

Equally surprising, even though factually correct, Mr. Kharge said, is the EC’s comment that it is not “legally bound to publish any voter turnout data at aggregate level of a constituency or State.”

“Many voters who are deeply interested in the election would also like to see the absolute number of votes polled to be put out in the public domain by the EC directly,” Mr. Kharge noted. 

Expressing disappointment that in the rebuttal the EC failed to make any assurance that it will work to “safeguard democracy” and “protect” their own independent functioning, Mr. Kharge said, “To make it more clear, the Congress party 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.” 

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