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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: In open letter to Election Commission, Samyukt Kisan Morcha calls for 'free, transparent' counting on June 4

In the open letter, the SKM, which had spearheaded the protests against the now-withdrawn farm laws, said they are apprehensive about tampering in the counting process.
Last Updated : 02 June 2024, 08:44 IST
Last Updated : 02 June 2024, 08:44 IST

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New Delhi: Samyukt Kisan Morcha wrote an open letter on Sunday to the Election Commission of India urging to ensure 'free and transparent' counting. 

Counting for the seven phases of Lok Sabha elections will be conducted on June 4. 

In the open letter, the SKM, which had spearheaded the protests against the now-withdrawn farm laws, said they are apprehensive about tampering in the counting process.

"On behalf of the farmers across India, we wish to bring to your kind attention our apprehension on any eventuality of tampering with the counting process - scheduled for June 4, 2024, to subvert the people's verdict to help the present regime to cling on power," the SKM said.

"Unlike the past elections, the farmers of India had directly opposed the election campaign of the BJP against the gross betrayal in implementing the written agreement with SKM especially regarding MSP and loan waiver and to expose its corporate policies," they said.

The SKM, a coalition of over forty Indian farmers' unions, said the "massive and peaceful" protest helped the farmers, workers and all poor sections to put forward their livelihood issues and protect the Constitutional principles of democracy, secularism and federalism.

"Thus, the electoral fight got abridged between the BJP and the people at large".

They said the 13-month-long farmers struggle - with the active support of the trade unions and other sections - witnessed the death of more than 750 farmers.

"The BJP had spewed venom abusing the farmers as anti-nationals, funded by foreign terrorists and Khalistanis. During the election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top BJP leaders continuously violated the Model Code of Conduct and the Constitution of India by consistently daring to make hate speeches against the principal minority community," they said.

"They deliberately used indecent language with the aim to destroy the harmonious social life. The onslaught was on the Constitutional principle of secularism".

They said SKM publicly requested the ECI to take punitive action and put a six-year ban to contest elections on those including Narendra Modi and whoever violated the law.

"Unfortunately, the ECI adhered to the reticent way of inaction, delaying action and finally concluded it with 'giving advice' to the lawbreakers. Thus, the failure of ECI to uphold constitutional responsibility allowed BJP's divisive ideology to prevail and influence the people at large during the election," they said.

"The soft handling and resultant failure to restrain the Prime Minister has lent serious doubts in the minds of the people at large about the entire election process as a 'favour' to the BJP in its efforts to hang on power."  The SKM also accused the ECI of not ensuring transparency in conducting press briefings and providing poll data. There were serious discrepancies in the provided data, and it pointed out that the 'caretaker government', without prior permission of the ECI, had arrested the elected Chief Minister of Delhi to 'incapacitate the opposition pre-poll alliance'.

"The bank accounts of the political parties in the opposition were suspended. In both incidents, the ECI was silent. The police and Intelligence Bureau also targeted the farmer leaders of Punjab for protesting peacefully against BJP," they said.

The SKM in their letter urged the poll panel to "ensure free and transparent counting as per the procedure," and to share the exact details of the votes periodically with the public as warranted by rules to dispense any doubts on manipulation.

"Check all violations with strict and strong action against those involved. Please notify all Election Returning officers about these concerns of the farmers of India," they said.

"Lastly, we wish to state once again that we do not want the Election Commission of India to give the farmers and the people of the country any reason to believe that their popular mandate has been undermined by any element of unfair conduct in any constituency," they added.

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Published 02 June 2024, 08:44 IST

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