Congress Presidential Poll: Voting To Be Done Through Secret Ballot

Days after Congress president post candidate Shashi Tharoor talked about an “uneven playing field” in polls, the party’s Central Election Authority chairman, Madhusudan Mistry, on Wednesday said that polling will be done through a secret ballot.

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By: Anand Singh | NEW DELHI
Updated: 12 October, 2022 10:51 pm IST
Congress Central Election Authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry explained the voting process for the party president

Days after Congress president post candidate Shashi Tharoor talked about an “uneven playing field” in polls, the party’s Central Election Authority chairman, Madhusudan Mistry, on Wednesday said that polling will be done through a secret ballot.

Responding to Tharoor’s statement hinting at “an uneven playing field”, Mistry said, “Absolutely false. I have no answer to allegations levelled before the media. But if someone draws our attention to any wrongdoing, we will rectify it.”

Speaking to a television channel on a programme that aired on Sunday, Tharoor said, “There is some aspect that suggests an uneven playing field.”

The senior leader is pitted against veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is considered an overwhelming favourite to win the Congress presidential poll that the party is witnessing after a gap of 21 years.

Meanwhile, Mistry said that the upcoming Congress presidential election will be held by a ‘secret ballot’ and no one will get to know who voted for whom. He also said that the party’s Central Election Authority is making efforts to conduct a “free and fair election”.

“What can we do if someone levels allegations? We can’t stop them. As far as we are concerned, we are going ahead in the process of conducting a free and fair election,” he said.

Mistry also demonstrated the ballot boxes, ballot paper, and how the votes would be cast.

He said the sealed boxes would be transported to New Delhi, kept in a strong room at party headquarters and will be opened in New Delhi. The ballot papers would be mixed before counting starts.

To a question about reports that some delegates fear that siding with a particular candidate may go against them in the party, Mistry said, “I am surprised that political workers are afraid.”

“I have been saying repeatedly that it is a secret ballot. Who voted for whom is not going to be known. No one would get to know how many votes were received from which state. What bigger assurance can there be?” he wondered.

“This is a secret ballot… we have tried to ensure a level-playing candidate. If somebody feels that he would be victimised by something that is not there, we assure them,” he added.

Tharoor had earlier also claimed that some of his colleagues had asked party leader Rahul Gandhi to seek the withdrawal of the Thiruvananthapuram MP’s candidature for the party president post.

On how many complaints have been filed by the candidates till now, Mistry said the party’s poll body has received only one complaint.

He, however, did not disclose who had filed the complaint, but when asked what action would be taken over the complaint from Tharoor’s camp, Mistry said, “We have our own way of dealing with things, we don’t want to disclose it.”

Elections for top party posts will take place on October 17 and the counting of votes will take place on October 19. While the all-important Gandhi family has maintained that they will remain neutral in elections, Kharge is said to be the favourite candidate for the family that matters in Congress.

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