How Can Polls For Top Cong Post Be Free & Fair, Questions Manish Tewari

Former Union Minister, and party leader Manish Tewari, also a part of the G23 leaders, on Wednesday questioned how can there be a fair and free election without a publicly available electoral roll

NEW DELHI | Updated: 31 August, 2022 5:39 pm IST

Close on the heels of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) announcing the new election schedule for the party chief, former Union Minister, and party leader Manish Tewari, also a part of the G23 leaders, on Wednesday questioned how can there be a free and fair election without a publicly available electoral roll.

He was responding to a recent interview of the party’s election authority chairperson Madhusudan Mistry. In the interview, he rubbished allegations made by former party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad that the Congress presidential polls are a farce. Mistry had stated that there should not be any doubt in anyone’s mind about the fairness of the electoral process.

Earlier, veteran Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, in an article for a news outlet, had called for a “free and fair” election.

In a series of tweets, Tewari, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Punjab’s Anandpur Sahib, said, “With great respect to Madhusudan Mistryji, I wish to ask: how can there be a fair and free election without a publicly available electoral roll? Essence of a fair and free process is that names and addresses of electors must be published on Congress website in a transparent manner.”

Questioning the process of presidential elections of the party, Tewari said, “You (Mistry) are quoted as saying “The list is not made public but if a member of our party wants to check it, they can check at the PCC office. And, of course, it will be given to the candidates, once they file their nomination papers.”

“Why should one have to go to every PCC office in the country to find out who the electors are? This does not happen even in a club election. In the interest of fairness and transparency, I urge you to publish it,” Tewari demanded.

“The entire list of electors must be on the Congress website. How can one consider running if he/she does not know who the electors are. If one has to file his/her nomination and get it proposed by 10 Congresspersons as is the requirement, CEA can reject it saying they are not valid electors,” Tewari said in his tweet.

Tewari’s tweets come at a time when questions have been raised over the Congress’ presidential election. In recent days, the leader has taken a stand that is different from the party’s on a host of issues.

Congress MP Karti Chidambaram also said, “Every election needs a well-defined and clear electoral college. The process of forming the electoral college must also be clear, well-defined, and transparent. An ad hoc electoral college is no electoral college.”

On Sunday, the CWC, the highest decision-making body of the party, announced the new schedule for the presidential polls. As per it, the date of notification is September 22 and candidates can file their nomination between September 24 and 30.

The last date of withdrawal will be October 8 while the date of the election (if needed) is October 17 (Monday) 10 am to 4pm and the counting of votes and declaration of result, (if needed) is October 19.

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