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Congress slams the Election Commission, accuses it of not fulfilling its constitutional duty

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Congress slams the Election Commission, accuses it of not fulfilling its constitutional duty

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Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the EC’s actions on complaints against the BJP top brass and in the non-disclosure of voter data do not befit a high-level constitutional institution. File

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the EC’s actions on complaints against the BJP top brass and in the non-disclosure of voter data do not befit a high-level constitutional institution. File
| Photo Credit: PTI

The Congress on Thursday slammed the Election Commission (EC) for advising Opposition leaders that they should refrain from saying the Constitution is in danger as well as over its affidavit in the Supreme Court with regard to disclosing voter data on its website.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi sharply criticised the EC’s argument that data contained in Form 17C can be morphed or distorted if it is uploaded on its website. He said it is unfortunate and condemnable that the poll body is not fulfilling its constitutional duty and its inclination is “one-sided”.

Mr. Singhvi also accused the EC of trying to be “the election department” of the Bharatiya Janata Party by not acting on the complaints of model code violations by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Instead, he said, the EC is creating “false equivalences” by giving generalised directions to political parties.

His comments came after the EC gave an affidavit in the Supreme Court, saying “indiscriminate disclosure” of polling station-wise voter-turnout data and posting the figures on its website will cause chaos in the election machinery, which is already in motion for the ongoing Lok Sabha election.

“The EC has become one-sided and blindsided by one particular party. All this is being done unfortunately, because the EC wants to become the election department of the Government of India,” Mr. Singhvi said.

He said the EC’s actions on complaints against the BJP top brass and in the non-disclosure of voter data do not befit a high-level constitutional institution.

“This is against the constitutional responsibilities of the institution. This is the Election Commission, not the election agent of any party. When a constitutional institution does not follow the Constitution and shows inclination towards power, then it should be understood that this is the end of democracy,” he said.

Raising the poll panel’s instructions that one cannot raise questions on the Constitution, Mr. Singhvi asserted, “We are openly saying that unless there is a violation of the code of conduct, the EC does not have the right to decide who will say what”.

“Today, the identity of India, the thinking of India, the basic structure of the Constitution is in danger. This is very unfortunate,” he added.

The Congress spokesperson also questioned the purpose of “hiding” Form 17C, which is meant to increase the faith of the public in the poll process.

“It is the EC’s constitutional duty to share it with all. Opposing it in such a way is condemnable and unfortunate and exposes the EC in every manner. We are not asking the EC about EVMs [electronic voting machines] but about disclosure of data. Through this stand in its ridiculous affidavit, the EC is falling into the BJP’s trap to orchestrate decimation and destruction of electoral democracy,” he said.

“The EC is as much on trial as the political parties we oppose. The political parties can fail the trial but the EC cannot afford to fail the trial. The EC has not passed the high constitutional obligations and tests imposed upon it. It is time that the EC rose to the occasion and dealt with these issues on a constitutional basis. It has voted for concealment instead of transparency,” Mr. Singhvi alleged.

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