SEC M’tra agrees to make weekly reports to CEC public, assures action on hate speech, urges every citizen to become alert voter: Vote For Democracy Delegation

In a 90 minute long meeting with representatives of various organisations, a Vote For Democracy Delegation met Additional SEC, Kiran Kulkarni on Saturday, May 18; Citizens for Justice & Peace presented a detailed tabulation of hate speeches during the five-phase poll in the state; along with Bharat Jodo Abhiyan, Maharashtra Democratic Forum (MDF) and Bombay Catholic Sabha the whole delegation raised issue of missing voters from minority communities and deleted voters as well

A six member delegation of citizens representing over three dozen people’s organisations, minority groups and human rights platforms met with the Additional Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Maharashtra, Mr Kiran Kulkarni on Saturday, May 18, 2024, two days before polling in Mumbai. At the meeting that lasted for 90 minutes, the delegation expressed serious concern over the string of hate speeches delivered in the state in the 5-phase 2024 Lok Sabha Poll, advertisements in violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), and doubts and concerns of the absence of communication of voting percentage and voting figures countrywide.

The delegation presented a memorandum and detailed tabulation prepared by Citizens for Justice and Peace ( that showcased ten specific cases of the most egregious violations of Section 123 (3A) “corrupt practice” under the Representation of People’s Act, 1951. The table contains detailed analysis of hate speech violations on at least ten occasions in the state (two by BLP MLA from Ghoshamahal, Telangana, T Raja Singh, two by Navneet Rana, BJP MP from Amravati, one by BJP’s minority leader, Mazia Elahi Khan, Sanjay Sharma, one by Independent candidate from Dhule, one by UP chief minister, Ajay Bisht aka Adityanath and three by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

The delegation consisted of Teesta Setalvad, secretary, Citizens for Justice and Peace & member, Vote for Democracy, Dolphy De’Souza, President, BombayCatholic Sabha & member Vote for Democracy, Ulka Mahajan, Bharat Jodo Abhiyan, Shakir Shaikh and Ashraf Khan, Maharashtra Democratic Forum and Father Frazer Mascarenhas, Vote for Democracy. The delegation is part of a collective of over 200 organisations under Nirdhaar Maharashtra.

In brief, the following points were raised in the discussion,

  • Hate speeches, the complaints submitted in the accompanying memorandum in which immediate action including due cognizance of offences was needed, the action needed to be made public on the website of the Commission and the offenders barred from further campaigning;
  • Serious concerns on the discrepancies on the Vote count of the first four phases of polls which have not been declared yet (the matter is now before the Supreme Court of India) were expressed by members of the delegation
  • The deliberations and monitoring reports of the SEC should be made public. (The Addl SEC immediately accepted the delegation’s suggestion that the weekly report on all abovementioned issues, including action taken on various points, sent by the SEC, Maharashtra to the CEC, India should be immediately uploaded on the website)
  • The EC should have press conferences after every phase of voting
  • On the concerns expressed about the serious differences (interpreted as discrepancies) in voting percentages between the 11 p.m. Voting day figures and the final percentages released by the Returning Officers (ROs) 48 hours later, Mr Kulkarni explained that:
    1. The Voter Turn Out APP by the ECI is available on the Google Playstore
    2. Release of figures are done Respective Returning Officers (ROs).
    3. The Figures on the APP approximate and clearly mentioned as such on the app
    4. The APP Data gets released every two hours on poll day
    5. The Poll Day figures are approximate
    6. It is the next day midnight figures that reflect proper collation after checking 17 C Forms and hence, reliable and in the public domain.
    7. The Next Day midnight Data can be Tallied with Counting day Per Table EVM Vote Count and there will be no discrepancy

Note: The Voter Turn Out APP which any citizen can download) records in real time the updated figures by the Returning Officers in all booths collated from each booth, assembly constituency and then Parliamentary Constituency wise. The ROs record these on the APP every hour till polling day midnight in real time. It is the next day midnight figures that reflect proper cross-checking and collation after checking 17-C forms filled up by presiding officers in each booth.

He explained that the figures that the CEC then later releases may therefore have discrepancies with previous day’s 11 p.m. figures that are approximate given they have been given from an approximation on the APP (without physical collation and checking with 17-C forms).

Suggestion: An exercise to cross-check and clarify this, we should as Volunteers compare and cross check above data in any one or two constituencies.

[[भारत निवडणूक आयोगािे झालेल्या मतदािाची टक्के वारी सर्वांना कळावी म्हणूि “Voter Turnout App” तयार के लेले आहे. हे ॲप Google Play Store व Apple Store वर अथवा आयोगाच्या वेबसाईटवर सहज उपलब्ध आहे आनण कोणीही डाऊिलोड करुि त्याचा उपयोग करु शकतो. हयावर मतदािाच्या नदवशी सकाळी 9.00 नंतर दर 2 तासांनी झालेल्या मतदािाची अंदानजत टक्के वारी जाहीर करण्यात येते. त्यामुळे मतदािाची प्रत्यक्ष टक्के वारी आनण ॲपवर नदसत असलेली टक्के वारी यामध्ये थोडाफार फरक पडू शकतो, हे स्वाभानवक आहे. या ॲपवर राज्य, लोकसभा आनण नवधािसभा मतदारसंघ यातील अंदानजत टक्के वारी उपलब्ध होते. हे ॲप डाऊिलोड करुि वापरण्याची नलंक सोबत जोडली आहे.

दर दोि तासांप्रमाणे मतदािाच्या नदवशी सायंकाळी 5.00 वाजताची अंदानजत टक्के वारी बघता येते. त्यािंतर संध्याकाळी 7.00 वा. बहुतेक निकाणचे मतदाि संपत असल्यामुळे पुन्हा एकदा अंदानजत टक्के वारी उपलब्ध होते. परं तु काही मतदाि कें द्रावर संध्याकाळी 6.00 वाजण्याच्या आत म्हणजे मतदािाची वेळ संपण्याच्या आत मतदाि कें द्रांवर दाखल झालेल्या मतदारांिा टोकि देऊि सवाांचे मतदाि पूणण होईपयांत मतदाि चालू राहते. काही मतदाि कें द्रावर अगदी रात्री 9.00 वाजेपयांत सुध्दा मतदाि अशाप्रकारे चालू असण्याची उदाहरणे आहेत.—[[SEC Maharashtra Press Note Annexed]]

  • Disenfranchisement especially of religious minorities, was discussed. In many ways minorities have experienced the differential treatment, some examples from Marathwada were discussed.
  • Other important issues like Missing Voters especially of targeted community, persons from the same family being allotted different polling booths –often 5 kms apart—were discussed.

C Voter APP

( Mr Kulkrani suggested that we can give such cases to highlight and for their review.

  • Website for               Deleted               vote               list:                This               site ( gives deleted voters list. If the voters find out on the voting day that their name is not there in the latest An extremely important point of information that arose out of the discussions related to the cases of voters who’s names may have been deleted from the present (current) voters list but who have voted before. The voters concerned can approach the Facility Centre in every polling booth and check the ASD list there and then on the website giving details name, EPIC number or address. If their name appears in the deleted voters list (ASD list) then they can vote with help of an Identification Card. [[To cross-check and clarify this, we should as Volunteers compare and cross check above data in any one or two constituencies.]]
  • The procedure of mock pole was discussed. He clarified that mock pole has to be conducted between 6 am to 7 am.
  • Clarifications were also sought by the delegation on the Protest/Challenge/Tendered
  • Mr Kulkarni also shared his own articles on some of the issues raised in the meeting (Marathi and English). These are available with us and can be sought by any citizen)

In conclusion, the meeting with Additional CEO Mr. Kiran Kulkarni on May 18, 2024 lasted an hour and a half and resulted in an elaborate and fruitful exchange. We expressed our concerns on a number of issues and Mr. Kulkarni gave us a patient hearing and responded elaborately on each.

Basically, he tried to convey that the Election Commission has elaborate and tested procedures and that these are being followed. He revealed that Maharashtra has received about 65 complaints of breach of the model code of conduct and that these are already being processed and action recommended. The instances we brought before him, he felt, may already be under consideration and if not, they would be enquired into.

Mr Kulkarni also declared that the Commission expects a citizen to be an alert voter. Before every election, the voter should check her or his name in the Electoral Lists because the lists are verified some months before the election and there is every chance of a deletion taking place by error. In such a case, the voter must re-register within the time limit of 10 days before the date for the withdrawal of nominations. In case the voter discovers the name missing at the voting booth itself, then the deleted voters list should be demanded and if the name occurs there, the officer will allow such a person to vote.



Related Articles