Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Former bureaucrats shoot off letter to EC over 'hate speech' by BJP leaders, lament delay in action despite complaints

The concerns also include the 'inexplicable refusal' of the EC to disclose exact number of votes cast, the letter said.
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 25 May 2024, 09:43 IST
Last Updated : 25 May 2024, 09:43 IST

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New Delhi: Around 100 former civil servants on Saturday asked the Election Commission to publicly explain why there is little action against hate speech by BJP leaders and the exact number of votes cast is not disclosed, while accusing the poll body of being “reluctant” to discharge its duties.

The letter signed by members of the non-political Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG) also asked the EC to take steps for the safe custody of the EVM machines in the run up to the counting of votes on June 4 and returning officers need to commit themselves to announcing the results without any delay.

Elections are particularly “testing time” for institutions that are constitutionally vested with the responsibility of ensuring the integrity and fairness of elections, the letter signed by Wajahat Habibullah, Shivshankar Menon, GK Pillai, K Sujatha Rao and Meeran C Borwankar, said.

They reminded that concerns have been raised 'at many points' about the fairness of the elections and these relate to fears about tampering of EVM and VVPAT machines, instances of a single person casting votes of several others and missing names in voters’ list.

The concerns also include the 'inexplicable refusal' of the EC to disclose exact number of votes cast and “little visible” action against hate speech targeting both minorities and the Opposition parties by the senior leaders of the ruling party, the letter said.

Hours after the letter was publicised, the EC released the actual number of votes cast in constituencies so far.

"It would be fitting for the Election Commission to publicly explain actions taken, and not taken, by the Commission to address these problems and allay the fears of the electorate. They should still do this without further delay and in a transparent manner," it said.

“It pains us to say that no Election Commission in the past has been as reluctant as the present one to discharge its duties, despite violations being repeatedly brought to its attention by responsible organisations and respected members of society. We hope they will not continue to show this disregard in the time that is remaining,” it said.

The higher judiciary, EC, Chief Electoral Officers in state and returning officers in districts and they must not only be fair but also appear to be fair to retain faith of ordinary citizens, the letter, also signed by AS Dulat,Vappala Balachandran, MG Devasahayam,Maxwell Pereira and KP Fabian among others, said.

The letter said it reminds each of the authorities and institutions charged with the integrity of the process of democratic government formation of their paramount duty to abide and uphold the Constitution of India. “We would like to remind them of the oath they have taken in this regard at the time of their assumption of office,” it said.

Published 25 May 2024, 09:43 IST

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