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EC reaction to Kharge's letter to INDIA bloc partners 'inappropriate and unwarranted', says Gehlot

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Jaipur, May 11 (PTI) The Election Commission's reaction to a letter by Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge to INDIA bloc partners expressing concern over delays in releasing voter turnout figures for the first two poll phases was "completely inappropriate and unwarranted", former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said on Saturday.

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The commission on Friday, in a response to Kharge's letter, called it an attempt to push a biased narrative under the guise of seeking clarifications.

In a post in Hindi on X, Gehlot said, "The language of the letter of the Election Commission, which came on the legitimate questions raised by @kharge ji, seems more like that of a political party than a constitutional institution. Instead of working with its responsibility, the Election Commission is seen standing with one party in these elections and that is creating doubts in the minds of the common people." He added that such a reaction is not good for the Election Commission's image.

"It is surprising that the Election Commission is reacting to the internal discussions between parties but is not even taking cognisance of the complaints raised by the opposition parties to the Election Commission. In Rajasthan, the Congress filed more than 20 complaints but it did not even issue notices on them," Gehlot added.

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Kharge on Saturday said it is surprising that the poll authority chose to respond to a letter he wrote to INDIA bloc leaders but ignored several other complaints he raised directly to it.

In a letter addressed to the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners, he said the poll panel is showing no urgency in dealing with "blatantly communal and casteist" statements being made by leaders of the ruling party.

Kharge, in his response, said it was an open letter clearly addressed to the Congress' partners and not the commission.

"It is surprising that the Election Commission of India wanted to respond to this letter while ignoring several other complaints given directly to it. I have certain misgivings about the language of the letter but I will not press on that issue as I understand the pressures they are working under," Kharge said in his letter to the poll authority on Saturday.

He said the poll authority's letter, on one hand, says the commission respects citizens' right to ask questions and, on the other, "threatens citizens in the form of an advise to exercise caution". PTI SDA SDA SZM

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