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Present regime might tamper with people's verdict at vote count: SKM

Counterview Desk 
The National Coordination Committee of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), in an Open letter to the Election Commission of India (ECI), expressing apprehension on free and fair counting to 18th Lok Sabha election 2024, has said the ECI during the election process appeared to ‘favour’ to the BJP in its efforts to hang on to power. 
Seeking "free and transparent counting as per the procedure", and take steps against all the violations during the elections "with strict and strong action against those involved", SKM regretted ECI's "inaction" against "Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top BJP leaders", who  "continuously violated the Model Code of Conduct and the Constitution of India by consistently dared to make hate speeches."


On behalf of the farmers across India, we wish to bring to your kind attention our apprehension on any eventuality of tampering with the counting process - scheduled for June 4, 2024, to subvert the people’s verdict to help the present regime to cling on power.
Unlike the past elections, the farmers of India had directly opposed the election campaign of the BJP against the gross betrayal in implementing the written agreement with SKM especially regarding MSP and loan waiver and to expose its corporate policies. The massive and peaceful protest helped to rally the farmers, workers and all poor sections mainly around their burning livelihood issues as well as protection of the Constitutional principles of democracy, secularism and federalism. Thus, the electoral fight got abridged between the BJP and the people at large.  
The 13 month long massive farmers struggle against the 3 corporate farm acts -- with the active support of the trade unions and other sections -- witnessed the sacrifice of more than 750 farmers’ lives as well as the heinous murder of 4 farmers and a journalist by and at the behest of the current regime.  The BJP had spewed venom abusing the farmers as anti-nationals, funded by foreign terrorists and Khalistanis.
During the election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top BJP leaders continuously violated the Model Code of Conduct and the Constitution of India by consistently dared to make hate speeches against the principal minority community. They deliberately used indecent language with the aim to destroy the harmonious social life of our great people and divide the farmers, workers and the people at large along communal lines, biting at minorities. The onslaught was on the Constitutional principle of secularism -- the foundation of pluralism and unity of the people that cemented the true existence of the Republic for the last 77 years since independence as a model to the entire world nations.   
SKM twice publicly requested the ECI to take punitive action and put a six years ban to contest elections on those, including Narendra Modi, who ever violated the law.  Unfortunately, the ECI adhered to the reticent way of inaction, delaying action and finally concluded it with 'giving advice' to the law breakers. Thus, the failure of ECI in upholding constitutional responsibility allowed BJP’s divisive ideology to prevail and influence the people at large during the election. 
The soft handling and resultant failure to restrain the Prime Minister has lent serious doubts in the minds of the people at large about the entire election process as a ‘favour’ to the BJP in its efforts to hang on to power. 
It is worth mentioning that the people, particularly those belonging to minority communities and the political parties in the opposition, have maintained highest serenity and accountability to preserve peace and harmonious milieu across the country even in the context of such extreme provocation.
SKM asked ECI to take punitive action and put 6 year ban to contest elections on those, including Modi, who violated law
The ECI did not ensure transparency in conducting press briefing, providing poll data and there were serious discrepancies in the provided data. Later, the ECI released constituency wise data of vote polled after the entire issue had been brought to the attention of the Supreme Court. This was never the conduct of the ECI in the past.
The caretaker government, without prior permission of the ECI, had arrested the elected Chief Minister of Delhi to incapacitate the opposition pre-poll alliance. Later, the Supreme Court of India provided interim bail to the Delhi CM. The bank accounts of the political parties in the opposition were suspended. In both the incidents, the ECI was silent. The police and Intelligence Bureau also targeted the farmer leaders of Punjab for protesting peacefully against BJP.
The removal of the Chief Justice of India from the committee to appoint the members of the Election Commission of India had been morally incorrect.
Such a series of omissions have created distrust among the public on the neutrality of the ECI and created serious apprehensions on the potential of the present regime to tamper the people’s verdict during the counting of votes.
 In this context, the SKM appeal to the ECI to please address the following:
  1. Ensure free and transparent counting as per the procedure.
  2. Share the exact details of the votes periodically with the public as warranted by rules in order to dispense any doubts on manipulation.
  3. Check all violations with strict and strong action against those involved.
  4. Please notify all Election Returning officers about these concerns of the farmers of India.
Lastly, we wish to state once again that we do not want the Election Commission of India to give the farmers and the people of the country any reason to believe that their popular mandate has been undermined by any element of unfair conduct in any constituency.  
While bringing these apprehensions, we also think it is important to mention that this election has brought hope for a course correction in the Union Government's anti-farmer, anti-worker policy by enabling a change in government.



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