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EC slams Congress chief Kharge over ‘baseless’ allegations on voter turnout data

The Election Commission on Friday castigated Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge for obstructing the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, accusing him of making “baseless allegations” regarding the release of voter turnout data amidst the polls.

The EC said that Kharge’s allegations, made in the middle of the ongoing elections, were “designed to create confusion, misdirection and impediments in the conduct of free and fair polls.” It further warned that such utterances could have a negative impact on voter participation and demoralize the vast election machinery across states.

In a strongly-worded rejoinder, the EC termed Kharge’s statements an “aggression on vitals of live election operations” and asserted its determination “to act against developments which have a direct impact on the delivery of its core mandate.” The commission rejected Kharge’s contentions, labeling them as “insinuations and innuendos.”

The EC refuted any lapses or deviations in the collection and dissemination of voter turnout data, stating that it follows all past and present procedures and practices. It provided point-by-point counters to reject Kharge’s claims, including refuting any delay in giving turnout data and highlighting that updated figures have always been higher than the poll day figures, backing it with data from the 2019 general election onwards.

The commission condemned Kharge’s statement questioning if there was “an attempt to doctor the final results,” stating that such remarks could create an “anarchic situation” and sow doubts and disharmony.

Kharge had previously written to the leaders of the INDIA bloc, urging them to raise their voices against alleged discrepancies in the voting data released by the EC. He claimed that the Prime Minister and the BJP were “visibly flustered” and “frustrated” by the voting trends and their receding electoral fortunes in the first two phases.

Kharge had questioned the Election Commission over the delayed release of voter turnout data for the first two phases of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. He highlighted significant increases of around 5.5% and 5.74% in the final turnout figures compared to polling day numbers. Kharge sought reasons for the delay, the increases, and lack of crucial details like constituency-wise data, alleging discrepancies.

Three phases of polling have taken place so far with 4 more phases are scheduled. The counting of votes will be held on June 4.

(Inputs from ANI)

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