INDIA bloc leaders meet EC over voter turnout data, alleged model code violations

The meeting comes over the voter turnout data in the first two phases, as well as over the alleged violations of the MCC by the BJP.


Published May 10, 2024 | 8:06 PMUpdatedMay 10, 2024 | 8:06 PM

Congress Election Commission

Amid concerns expressed by various Opposition parties over the voter turnout data, the leaders of the INDIA bloc met the top brass of the Election Commission (EC) on Friday, 10 May.

The meeting comes over the voter turnout data released by the EC in the first two phases, as well as over the alleged violations of the model code of conduct by the BJP leaders during the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

On Tuesday, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge had written to the leaders of various opposition parties on the issue of alleged “discrepancies” in the voting data released by the Election Commission (EC). The opposition leaders then decided to approach the EC over the issue.

Also Read: In a first, ECI chides Mallikarjun Kharge for his letter on voter turnout data

EC’s response

However, the EC on Friday responded to Kharge’s letter to the fellow INDIA bloc leaders that was also posted on X and rejected his allegations that it had delayed the release of the final voter turnout numbers for the first two phases of the Lok Sabha elections.

In a strongly worded letter, the EC said the utterances from the president of a national political party are attacking the very credibility of the electoral steps and processes and can have a negative impact on voter participation.

Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh responded by defending the concerns raised by the Congress president.

“The response of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to the issues raised by the Congress president in his letter to the INDIA parties is simply beyond description. The EC is a Constitutional body entrusted with the responsibility of being an impartial body that ensures and is seen to ensure, a level playing field for all political parties.

“Both the content and intent of the letter will be a permanent blot on the reputation of an institution that can boast of luminaries like Sukumar Sen, TN Seshan, JM Lyngdoh and others,” Ramesh said in a post on X, just ahead of the meeting with the EC.

He said the Congress president had raised “perfectly legitimate issues” on which there have been widespread concerns and comments, adding that the approach of the Election Commission to addressing these issues is “deeply regrettable”.

Amid the opposition’s allegations, the poll body had asserted that booth-wise data of the “actual number of votes polled” is available with the candidates soon after the voting ends.

In a statement issued last week, the EC also said it attaches “due importance” to the timely release of voter turnout figures after each phase of the poll, and said not just constituency, but booth-wise data of the actual number of votes polled is available with the candidates, which is a statutory requirement.

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