ECI demands facts from Jairam Ramesh on allegations against Amit Shah

| Updated: 02 June, 2024 6:45 pm IST
The poll body said that being a senior leader, Ramesh must have made the public statement based on facts he believes to be true.

NEW DELHI: In a significant development, the Election Commission of India has sought clarification from senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh regarding his allegations against Home Minister Amit Shah. Ramesh had claimed that Shah had contacted 150 District Magistrates (DMs) ahead of the vote counting, accusing him of “brazen intimidation.”

The EC referred to the Congress leader’s post on X on June 1 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, Modi, 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,” he had added.

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In response, the Election Commission has asked Ramesh to provide details of his claims by 7 pm on Sunday, June 2nd. The poll body stated that no officer has reported any “undue influence” and requested the Opposition leader to provide the factual basis for his allegation. The poll body said that being a senior leader, Ramesh must have made the public statement based on facts he believes to be true.

The Election Commission emphasized that during the enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), all officers are under the deemed deputation of the Commission and report directly to it for any directions. The letter further stated, “As you are aware, the process of counting of votes is a sacred duty cast upon every Returning Officer, and such public statements by you tend to put an element of doubt and thus, deserves to be addressed in larger public interest.”

“Therefore, you are being a responsible, experienced and very senior leader of a National Party must have made such a 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.

Speaking to the media after exit polls predicted another BJP victory, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri 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.”

The Lok Sabha elections were held across seven phases, starting from April 19th and concluding on June 1st. The counting of votes for the crucial general elections is scheduled to take place on June 4th.

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