Congress President Kharge Raises Concerns Over Election Commission’s Response

New Delhi, 12th May 2024: In response to the Election Commission’s strong rebuttal regarding his claims on voter turnout data, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge penned a letter expressing his reservations about the tone used by the EC but acknowledged the pressures the institution faces. Despite his concerns, Kharge refrained from dwelling on the issue, demonstrating his understanding of the challenges confronted by the EC.

A senior officer within the Commission likened Kharge’s accusations to the EVM controversy of 2019, emphasizing the gravity of questioning the integrity of the electoral process without substantiated evidence. The Commission, in an unprecedented move, firmly countered Kharge’s allegations, characterizing them as “blatant inaccuracies” and warning against undermining its constitutionally mandated responsibilities. Kharge’s communication, disseminated through his X platform, raised questions about the timing of turnout data release, insinuating potential manipulation of Lok Sabha results.

Explaining the EC’s robust response, a senior officer noted the necessity to counter false narratives that undermine the credibility of the electoral process, drawing parallels to past challenges faced by the Commission. The delay in releasing final turnout figures prompted Kharge’s concerns, although the EC clarified that such data had always been accessible through the Voter Turnout app and provided to candidates’ agents post-polling.

Kharge’s Saturday letter expressed puzzlement over the EC’s assertion of not being legally obligated to publish aggregate turnout data, highlighting citizens’ interest in transparent electoral processes. He questioned the discrepancy between the Commission’s acknowledgment of citizens’ right to inquire and its cautionary tone in response.

Moreover, Kharge voiced disappointment over the Commission’s purported lack of urgency in addressing divisive statements made by ruling party leaders, which he argued undermine the electoral process. Despite disagreements, Kharge reaffirmed the Congress’s support for the Commission’s autonomy and urged officials to prioritize the integrity of democratic processes.