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ECI Sought from Jairam Ramesh Details of DMs Allegedly Influenced by Amit Shah

ECI Sought from Jairam Ramesh Details of DMs Allegedly Influenced by Amit Shah

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, June 2: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has sought a detailed factual information from the Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh on his charge that the union home minister Amit Shah had been personally making calls to the district magistrates in the country to influence them on the counting of votes on June 4 in favour of the BJP.

A day after Congress leader made the claim, the ECI on Sunday asked the Rajya Sabha MP to share the details of the officials. Mr Ramesh claimed on Saturday that Mr Shah by then had already called up 150 District Magistrates (DMs) across the country after polling was completed for the Lok Sabha polls, In a letter to Ramesh, the poll body has sought “factual information” and details from the Congress leader for his public statement through a post on his social media handle about the calls.

The EC referred to his post on X on Saturday in which he had claimed that “The outgoing Home Minister has been calling up DMs/Collectors. So far, he has spoken to 150 of them. This is blatant and brazen intimidation, showing how desperate the BJP is. Let it be very clear: the will of the people shall prevail, and on June 4th, Mr Modi, Mr Shah, and the BJP will exit, and the INDIA Janbandhan will be victorious. Officers should not get under any pressure and must uphold the Constitution. They are under watch.”

The ECI has given Mr Ramesh time till Sunday evening to report in detail about the DMs he claimed had been contacted by Mr Shah.

Pointing out that the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was still force during which all officers were under the deemed deputation of the commission and they report directly to the poll watchdog for any directions, the ECI said, “However, no DM has reported any such undue influence as alleged by you. As you are aware, the process of counting of votes is a sacred duty cast upon every RO and such public statements by you tend to put an element of doubt and thus, deserves to be addressed in larger public interest,” the Election Commission said in its letter to Mr Ramesh.

“Therefore, you being a responsible, experienced and very senior leader of a National Party must have made such public statement, just before the day of counting, based on facts/ information you believe to be true. It is requested that details of 150 DMs to whom such calls have been allegedly made by the Home Minister along with the factual matrix/ basis of your information are shared by 19.00 hours today i.e. June 2, 2024, so that appropriate action can be taken,” the poll body alleged.

After the exit polls predicted another BJP victory, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday night had trashed such charges. “The Home Minister of India doesn’t call a district officer or a sub-divisional officer. The Home Minister deals with the Chief Minister of a state.”

Ahead of the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha elections, a delegation of opposition INDIA bloc leaders met the full bench of the ECI on Sunday with multiple demands, including “clear and detailed guidelines” on the counting process on June 4. On Saturday, senior leaders of the INDIA bloc had met in New Delhi to discuss their strategy for the counting day, even as the TMC and PDP skipped the meeting. Opposition parties had also slammed exit polls which they said were being guided by the ruling party.



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