‘Sham leading to scam’: Congress blasts Election Commission for not sharing data : The Tribune India

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‘Sham leading to scam’: Congress blasts Election Commission for not sharing data

Poll body’s SC affidavit on disclosure of Form 17C info creates controversy

‘Sham leading to scam’: Congress blasts Election Commission for not sharing data

Tribune News Service

Shubhadeep Choudhury

New Delhi, May 23

The Congress party on Thursday said the Election Commission’s (EC) refusal to share polling data was unfortunate and condemnable. At a press conference here today, senior party leader and noted lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi rubbished the EC affidavit in Supreme Court opposing the uploading of Form 17C on its website and said the justification given by the EC for not displaying the data was “laughable”.

Questions silence on ‘hate speech’ by PM

There’s not one word in the EC’s response on the hate speeches by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Why this fear and hesitation when these two names come up? Why this terror? Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Cong leader

Bengal Governor canvassing for BJP, complains TMC

  • Accusing Governor CV Ananda Bose of canvassing for the BJP in West Bengal, the TMC on Thursday urged the Election Commission to take “appropriate action” against Bose
  • The TMC also raised the issue of the portal launched by Bose for receiving complaints regarding Lok Sabha polls and said it amounted to interfering with the election process
  • In a complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner, the TMC said on January 23, 2024, the Governor, while attending a public function at the Ram Temple in Central Avenue, Kolkata, was seen wearing a BJP logo on his chest, “to solicit votes for BJP”

Singhvi said: “If this stand is not exposed, the EC will be, in great respect, guilty of making democracy a sham. It will be helping the BJP win the election by a voters’ scam. A sham leading to a scam.”

Singhvi said Form 17C contained figures of votes polled in a booth, the serial number of EVMs installed in each booth and the number of votes cast in each EVM.

In connection with a petition filed by the non-profit body Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), the EC had in its affidavit submitted to the apex court yesterday said it was “undesirable and unfeasible to disclose this data”, Singhvi said. Singhvi added that the EC did not explain why revealing the data contained in Form 17C was “undesirable and unfeasible”.

Quoting the EC affidavit, Singhvi said the poll body further claimed that “a disclosure of Form 17C could be amenable to mischief and vitiation of the entire election space”. “Public posting on the website increases the possibility of images being morphed, which can then create widespread public discomfort and mistrust in the entire electoral process”, the affidavit had said.

Singhvi said if the EC concern was taken seriously, then any matter uploaded on its website ran the risk of getting morphed and misused. “Can this fear stop people from uploading important data? No data could ever be uploaded if that logic was followed,” the Congress leader said.

“This is in reality a ploy to hide things,” Singhvi said and added that according to Rule 93 of the Conduct of Election Rules, anyone can avail the data contained in rule 17C by making a payment. The applicant can get a certified copy, Singhvi said.

“Is the EC interested in amassing money by giving the data in lieu of payment or is there a lack of space on its website,” Singhvi said. “Refusing to share the data is unfortunate, condemnable. It exposes the EC and shows its bias (towards the BJP),” Singhvi said.

“We are not asking anything about the EVM. We are asking for the disclosure of data. Through this ridiculous affidavit, the EC is falling into the trap of the BJP to orchestrate the decimation of electoral democracy,” Singhvi said.

Congress’Jairam Ramesh and TMC leader Mahua Moitra welcomed the observations made by Singhvi in separate posts on X. The case will come for hearing before the Supreme Court tomorrow.

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