The Election Commission has come down heavily on the Congress party for trying to malign its image by questioning its credibility and authenticity in conducting free and fair elections. Appearing before the Supreme Court, the poll body on Monday reiterated its charge that the grand old party had made attempts to harm its image by “fudging documents” to allege discrepancies in voters’ lists in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where assembly polls will be held later this year.
“I stand by what I had said earlier,” senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the Election Commission, told the division bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.
The lawyer also submitted that the commission had taken serious note of the Congress’s allegations and corrective measures were undertaken by the institution in this regard. Singh said this was evident from the commission’s June 8 communication. He argued that despite this, the leaders of the Congress have alleged discrepancies in their petitions in September.
“This was a clear attempt to malign the institution. The party’s leaders had casually filed something to malign and denigrate the poll panel,” he said.
The Congress party had moved the Supreme Court earlier this year after reports of duplicity in the voters’ lists had emerged from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The petitions were filed by Congress’ Madhya Pradesh unit chief Kamal Nath and Rajasthan unit president Sachin Pilot. They have demanded random verification of VVPAT machines during the upcoming polls and also urged the top court to pass an order to the Election Commission to publish the voters’ list in a “text format as per rules” instead of PDF format.
Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal who was arguing on behalf of Nath and Pilot opposed the contentions made by the Election Commission and referred to discrepancies and duplications in the voters’ lists. He submitted that same photographs were used for 36 voters who had different details in the list.
“This assumed significance given that several lakhs of fake voters were detected in Madhya Pradesh alone and about 24 lakh names had been deleted from the state’s rolls,” he said.
After hearing the arguments, the court reserved its order. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan will go to polls in November-December. Besides, elections will be held simultaneously in three more states – Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram. Results will be declared on December 11.