Lok Sabha Election Results 2024: In an open letter to civil servants and officers across India, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge urged adherence to constitutional principles and warned against succumbing to any unconstitutional means during the vote counting process for the 18th Lok Sabha elections on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. Kharge’s appeal emphasised the importance of maintaining the independence and integrity of India’s institutions, which he claimed have been under threat in recent years.

Kharge began his letter by congratulating the Election Commission of India, the Central Armed Forces, police, civil servants, district collectors, and volunteers for successfully conducting the elections. He echoed the sentiments of India’s first Home Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who famously referred to civil servants as the “Steel frame of India”.

The Congress chief reminded the bureaucracy of their oath to faithfully discharge their duties without fear or favour, stressing the need to resist any coercion from political parties. “We expect every bureaucrat and officer – from top to bottom of the hierarchy, to discharge their duties in the spirit of the Constitution, without any coercion, threat, pressure or intimidation,” Kharge wrote.

Highlighting concerns about the erosion of institutional independence, Kharge alleged a pattern of behaviour by the ruling party that he said undermines democratic ethos and pushes India towards a “regimental dictatorship”. He claimed that some institutions have started to align with the ruling party’s methods and rhetoric, compromising their independence. “With brute power, threat, coercive mechanisms and misuse of agencies, this tendency to bow to the powers has become a way for their short-term survival,” he added.

Kharge’s letter concluded with a plea for bureaucrats to adhere strictly to constitutional values on counting day. “Do not get intimidated by anyone. Do not bow down to any unconstitutional means. Do not be afraid of anyone and discharge your duties, based on merit, on this counting day,” he urged.

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Kharge, Rahul Gandhi Urge Congress Lok Sabha Poll Candidates To Remain Vigilant On Counting Day

In a related development, Kharge and senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi instructed Lok Sabha poll candidates to remain vigilant on counting day. During a virtual meeting attended by party leaders, including general secretaries Jairam Ramesh and K C Venugopal, Kharge and Gandhi discussed measures to prevent any rigging attempts, news agency PTI reported. They shared a standard operating procedure with the candidates and emphasised the importance of staying at the counting centres until all formalities are completed.

Congress leaders also criticised the recent exit polls, which predict a third term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Calling the exit polls “bogus” and “a deliberate attempt to justify rigging,” former Congress President Rahul Gandhi labelled them “Modi media polls”. Jairam Ramesh added that the polls were orchestrated by those whose exit was inevitable. “These are all part of the psychological games being played by the outgoing prime minister and the outgoing home minister,” Ramesh said.

Leaders of the I.N.D.I.A. bloc, a coalition of opposition parties, expressed confidence in securing more than 295 seats, sufficient to form the next government. They reiterated their commitment to ensuring transparency and fairness on counting day.

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