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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | CEC Rajiv Kumar dares Opposition to give proof of attempts to influence poll process

The opposition should also tell the Commission about those trying to influence the poll process before the counting of votes begins, Kumar said at a press conference.
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 03 June 2024, 11:09 IST
Last Updated : 03 June 2024, 11:09 IST

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New Delhi: Countering allegations of attempts to unduly influence Lok Sabha elections, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar on Monday asked the critics to share evidences so that it can act on specific complaints even as it dismissed "mischievous narratives" on the poll process.

He claimed the systems put in place could not go wrong and it would work with precision of a clock. On the questions raised on the poll process, including complaints over voters' list, working of EVM and poll turnout data, Kumar said that there is "a pattern, a design", which he says he would stop short calling a "toolkit".

While claiming that India has created a world record with 64.2 crore voters that includes 31.2 crore women, which is 1.5 times of G7 voters and 2.5 times of EU voters, Kumar also spoke about the "learnings" from the seven-phased poll process, saying it should have been closed by April-end and that the poll body should be prepared to tackle false narratives on the process.

Addressing an unprecedented press conference a day before the counting of votes, Kumar referred to the allegations by Congress General Secretary (Communications) Jairam Ramesh that Home Minister Amit Shah telephoned around 150 District Magistrates, who double up as Returning Officers, and said it was not fair to put all officers under the eye of suspicion.

"Those levelling allegations should say which DM was influenced and we will punish them. They should tell us before the counting process begins. You cannot spread a rumour and bring everyone under a cloud of suspicion," Kumar, who was flanked by Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and S S Sandhu, said.

He claimed there were "mischievous narratives" on voters' lists and EVMs and the "pattern" was to dig up pending cases.

"They are trying to spread anarchy. During the campaign, workers are charged up and if these narratives get some gravity, imagine what will happen," he said adding, one of the petitions was filed just four days before the first phase like in 2019.

The Commission was prepared to deal with any foreign attempt to influence the poll process but these allegations have come from within the country itself, he said adding, "we should be more prepared to deal with this (on handling false narratives)."

On the counting process, he said the EC has accepted all demands made by the I.N.D.I.A. delegation that met them on Sunday while insisting that the issues raised by them were part of the process for the past seven decades.

"Some demands were made by a multi-party delegation. We have agreed to all the demands," Kumar said, indicating that most of the issues raised by the multi-party delegation were part of election manuals.

On social media memes calling election commissioners 'Laapataa Gentlemen (missing gentlemen)', Kumar said, "We were always here, never went missing. Now memes can say the 'Laapataa Gentlemen' are back."

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Published 03 June 2024, 11:09 IST

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