Ahead of Wednesday’s counting of votes in the Congress presidential poll, Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor’s team is learnt to have sent official complaints to the party’s Central Election Authority (CEA) regarding the polling process.
On Wednesday, the Congress is all set to elect a non-Gandhi party chief as it geared up for the counting of votes of more than 9,500 delegates who exercised their mandate to choose between Mallikarjun Kharge and Mr. Tharoor on Monday.
The counting of the votes will begin at 10 a.m. at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters and the results will be declared by the evening.
However, Mr. Tharoor’s team is said to have raised some complaints regarding Monday’s polling process.
According to sources, Mr. Tharoor’s team has filed two to three complaints with the CEA, quoting various instances of violations in the polling process in Congress headquarters in different States. One of the complaints pertains to the Lucknow centre for Uttar Pradesh which has the largest number of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates or voters delegates.
Mr. Tharoor’s team, as per sources, has complained, that State in-charges were present at polling booths, despite, clear instructions from CEA chief Madhusudan Mistry not to do so and vote in their home States.
“There were three AICC secretaries in Lucknow but they were not allowed to vote. After the polling process, their agents [Team Tharoor] were satisfied and had signed the required documents saying so,” an official of the CEA said.
Another complaint pertained to not sealing the ballot boxes properly. which flies in the face of CEA’s assertion that it is a “secret ballot”. There were also complaints about the PCC leaders openly instructing the delegates who to vote for.
Mr. Tharoor’s election manager, Salman Anees Soz, neither confirmed nor denied lodging the complaints. “During the entire election process, we have been in constant communication with the CEA that includes during the election as well as after the elections. We have brought to his attention issues that are well within his domain,” Mr. Soz said.