EC behaving like 'biased umpire': Derek O'Brien

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New Delhi, May 7 (PTI A day after the Trinamool Congress wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner demanding that the number of voters in the first two phases be made public, TMC leader Derek O'Brien on Tuesday questioned the neutrality of the poll panel.

In a post on X, he said, "Does EC now stand for 'extremely compromised!” “In cricket, there are three kinds of umpires- an umpire, a neutral umpire and a biased umpire. By the actions of EC, more and more people are being convinced that EC fits into the third category," O'Brien, Trinamool Congress' Leader in Rajya Sabha, said.

The Trinamool Congress had on Monday urged Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar to "urgently furnish" the constituency-wise voter turnout in absolute numbers for the first two phases of Lok Sabha polls and also sought an explanation over the "delay" in releasing the figures.

Facing flak from the opposition parties over the issue, the Election Commission had on Monday said that "booth-wise data of actual number of votes polled is available with the candidates, which is a statutory requirement".

It had also announced a new feature to its mobile application to show aggregated phase-wise turnout for the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

"Commission has added a new feature in Voter Turnout App to show aggregated phase-wise turnout also in addition to State/PC /AC wise figures. This is for better facilitation of media and other stakeholders who may need this customised information," it said.

In its letter addressed to the CEC on Monday, the Trinamool Congress said the poll panel released the voter turnout percentage for the first two phases "belatedly" on April 30, but the report had no information about the total figure of eligible electors and the number of actual votes cast.

They demanded that the EC publish the total number of registered electors in each seat, the total number of voters physically turned up as per the 'Register for Voters', and the number of voters as per the EVM, for all constituencies which had gone to polls in phases one and two.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge also wrote to the leaders of various parties of the INDIA opposition bloc on Tuesday over the alleged discrepancies in the voting data released by the EC.

In his letter, Kharge urged the INDIA bloc leaders to "collectively, unitedly and unequivocally" raise their voice on the issue Sources in the Trinamool Congress said they welcomed the letter.

The EC officially shared the turnout figure for the first two phases of Lok Sabha polls on April 30 According to EC figures, a voter turnout of 66.14 per cent was recorded in phase one and 66.71 per cent in phase two of the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

The opposition parties are also demanding that the absolute number of voters be made public.

Voting is being held in 93 constituencies spread over 11 states and Union territories on Tuesday in the third phase of the parliamentary polls. PTI AO RT

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