Congress President Kharge Questions Election Commission’s Response to Fairness Concerns

The exchange comes after the EC wrote a strongly worded letter to Kharge regarding another letter he penned on Tuesday to leaders of various INDIA bloc parties

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Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has raised eyebrows by questioning the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) response to his recent statement challenging the fairness of the voting process. In a letter addressed to the ECI, Kharge expressed surprise at the commission’s decision to respond to his “open letter” while seemingly disregarding other complaints.

Kharge clarified, “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 of India wanted to respond to this letter while ignoring several other complaints given directly to it. I have certain misgivings about the language of the letter, but I will not press on that issue as I understand the pressures they are working under.”

The exchange comes after the EC wrote a strongly worded letter to Kharge regarding another letter he penned on Tuesday to leaders of various INDIA bloc parties. In that letter, Kharge questioned alleged discrepancies in voting information provided by the EC and urged INDIA bloc leaders to address these concerns, emphasizing their commitment to preserving democracy and the Constitution.

In response, the EC asserted, “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.”

Kharge, in his rebuttal, questioned the EC’s stance, noting the apparent contradiction between respecting citizens’ rights to ask questions and issuing cautionary advice that could be perceived as a threat.

“I am pleased that the Commission acknowledges its mandate to conduct smooth, free, and fair elections under the constitution. However, the lack of urgency shown by the Commission in addressing blatantly communal and casteist statements made by ruling party leaders, which could undermine the electoral process, is puzzling,” Kharge added.

The back-and-forth underscores the tensions surrounding the ongoing electoral process and the delicate balance between free speech and the EC’s responsibility to ensure fair elections. As the campaign season intensifies, such exchanges between political leaders and election authorities are likely to continue, reflecting the complexities of democratic governance.

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