Cong seeks cancellation of poll in Assam’s Tamulpur after BPF candidate switches to BJP

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New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI) The Congress on Friday urged the Election Commission (EC) to cancel the poll held in Tamulpur assembly constituency of Assam after Bodoland People's Front candidate switched sides to the BJP ahead of voting.

A delegation of Congress leaders led by senior party leader and former Law minister Ashwani Kumar met the EC and handed over a memorandum to it seeking cancellation of the poll.

The Congress also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of violating the model code of conduct by “blatantly misusing” the official machinery by getting his picture printed on COVID-19 vaccination certificates in order to publicise himself and his party during the ongoing state assembly elections.

While the poll panel has passed directions ordering the removal of the prime minister’s photos from the certificates, the Congress urged the EC to ensure that its directions are also complied with in states where by-elections are being held.

The party delegation argued that it was incumbent on the EC to ensure the purity of the electoral process and free and fair polls, after BPF candidate Basumataray defected to the BJP.

Kumar argued that defections induced by illegal means even before the counting of votes is a new phenomenon which is a 'fraud on the people and robs the electorate of the freedom of choice in the election of their representative'.

He said the nation looks to the EC to exercise its constitutional power to subserve the larger purpose of ensuring the sanctity, transparency and integrity of the electoral process.

The delegation also sought an enquiry into the incident wherein EVMs were loaded in a vehicle belonging to a BJP candidate.

'We have today made three representations to the Hon'ble Election Commission. The first one pertains to the induced defection through illegal means of the candidate of the Bodoland People's Front in assembly constituency number 58 in Assam,' Kumar told reporters.

He said the EC has enough powers in the constitution to ensure that such inducements that vitiate the electoral process and put a question mark on the purity of the electoral system and which go to weaken democracy are nipped in the bud.

He said the second representation was in respect of the EVMs found in the car of a BJP candidate in Assam which was a complete violation of the guidelines specified by the EC itself.

In a memorandum signed by party leaders Randeep Surjewala, Ajay Maken and Kumar, the Congress said he model code casts restraints on the party in power to issue advertisements at the cost of the exchequer.

“The picture of the prime minister on COVID-19 vaccine certificates undermines the sacrifices and hard work of all the health care workers in the country,” it said.

“The same is also in violation of the earlier direction of the EC issued in March wherein the poll panel after receiving complaints on use of portrait of the prime minister on COVID vaccine certificates has via letter directed the Centre to remove the pictures in poll-bound states,” it added.

“We request this Hon'ble Commission to issue urgent directions to preserve the sanctity of the election process by restraining the publishing of portraits of the of Prime Minister Narendra Modi upon COVID vaccine certificates,' the memorandum said, adding that it should be removed in all states where by-elections are being held. PTI SKC RHL