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‘From asking workers to mobilise to sar pe kafan, Rang De Basanti and more’: How I.N.D.I. Alliance leaders tried to fan violence ahead of Lok Sabha results

It was alarming to see that politicians belonging to the Opposition were fuelling tensions and instigating the masses over the probability of their loss in elections.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha election results on Tuesday (4th June), the Opposition parties had been inciting violence and threatening civil unrest in the country if the people re-elect BJP for a third term.

Starting last month, heavyweight politicians have been casting aspersions on the integrity of events, using provocative language to mobilise their supporters outside polling booths and making doomsday prophecies about the Lok Sabha election results.

The matter reached a crescendo on Monday (3rd June) when independent candidate Pappu Yadav urged his workers to be prepared to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Indian democracy.

Agar zabardasti loktantra ki maut hogi, toh Mahabharata ka sangram hoga (If democracy is killed forcefully, a fight like the Mahabharata will commence). To save democracy every worker in Purnea and Bihar should come ready to die tomorrow. Kafan bandh ke aaye (come with your shrouds). Har maathe pe kafan ho (May all of you come with shrouds over your head),” he announced.

He also threatened poll officials with dire consequences if they do not keep the process of counting votes transparent. “We want to cooperate with the Collector and all officials here. Keep the counting transparent, otherwise ‘marta kya na karta’ (Will do anything out of desperation),” he further warned.

In the meantime, Tejashwi Yadav-led-RJD praised a Samajwadi party leader named Sanatan Pandey for threatening to kill the Collector. Pandey had threatened in April this year, “If any mischief occurs during counting, then, either mine or the deady body of the Collector would be ready.”

Screengrab of the tweet by RJD

RJD had praised the murderous statement and tweeted on Monday, “Let the spirit of the socialists thrive.” The Congress party and its leaders also did not shy away from making provocative statements, which potentially could disturb the law and order situation in the country.

Congress MP candidate Manish Tewari quoted mass murderer cum British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and wrote, “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; We shall never surrender.”

While Churchill was talking about putting up a fight against the invading Axis Powers during the Second World War, Manish Tewari chose to use war euphemism against his rival political party.

Screengrab of the tweet by Manish Tewari

Congress’ directives to its party workers on the counting day appear as a sinister plan to create unrest.

In a tweet, BJP spokesperson Amit Malviya pointed out, “Congress party’s instruction to its workers reads like a manual to riot…There is absolutely no merit in asking people to assembly in state and district offices because counting happens in a designated secure zone for each Lok Sabha, unless the idea is to unleash mobs and disrupt the process.”

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge also chose to exploit the opportunity to make insinuations about Indian democracy.

The last decade has witnessed a systemic pattern to assault, undermine and suppress our autonomous institutions by the ruling party. India’s Democratic ethos are being consequently damaged. There is a widespread tendency to turn India into a regimental dictatorship. We are increasingly seeing some institutions shedding their independence and brazenly following the diktats of the ruling party. Some have completely adopted their style of communication, their way of functioning, and in some cases even their political rhetoric. It is not their fault. With brute power, threat, coercive mechanisms and misuse of agencies, this tendency to bow to the powers that have become a way for their short-term survival. Even though, in this denigration, India’s Constitution and Democracy have become a casualty,” he tweeted.

Former Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel spread dangerous fake news about ‘mismatch in EVMs.’

He alleged, “The Election Commission had given the numbers of the machines used in the elections. This includes ballot unit, control unit and VVPAT. According to the information given in Form 17C after the voting in my constituency Rajnandgaon, the numbers of many machines have changed. The booths where the numbers have been changed affect thousands of votes. Similar complaints have been received from many other Lok Sabha constituencies. We are complaining to the State Election Officer. @ECISVEEP should answer under what circumstances the machines were changed and who will be responsible for any impact on the election result? The list of changed numbers is very long but a short list is enclosed for your perusal.”

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the state clarified in a series of posts on ‘X’ that the “mismatch” in EVMs number shared with Baghel is not based on facts.

The list of machines changed due to some mechanical/technical faults during the poll and mock poll has also been shared with the candidates, the CEO said. Moreover, the polling agents have put signatures on the paper seals used to seal the EVMs before the start of polls, he added.

Veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh also cast doubts on the functioning of the Electronic Voting Machines. He was heard saying, “If BJP wins over 300 seats, it’s due to EVMs, not the people’s choice. The actual people’s mandate would give the INDIA alliance 295 seats.”

Another Congress leader named Devendra Yadav also questioned the Election Commission and cast aspersions on its impartiality.

On May 28, I had made a written complaint to the Election Commission seeking clarity in this matter so that before the counting of votes, it is clear whether this is a typing error or the machines have been tampered with. Counting is to take place tomorrow but I have not received any reply so I am placing the matter before you now,” he claimed.

Other political parties were quick to followed the Congress’ lead. Samajwadi party supremo Akhilesh Yadav warned on Monday (3rd June), “Janta Balidaan Dene Ke Liye Taiyaar Hai… Yuva Sar Par Kafan Baandh Raha Hai, Aur Keh Raha Hai- Rang De Basanti Chola.”

While invoking the patriotic song of ‘Rang De Basanti Chola’, the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said that the youth of the country are ready to sacrifice their lives for the nation and are walking with coffins tied to their heads.

AAP seized on the opportunity and targeted the Election Commission of India. “These pictures coming from the EVM strong room in Haryana’s Kaithal assembly are telling what condition these people have brought democracy to ‼ The Election Commission, which had the responsibility of properly conducting the Lok Sabha elections, called the festival of democracy, is busy in entertainment instead of fulfilling its responsibilities,” the Haryana unit of the party tweeted.

AAP leader Sanjay Singh also alleged, “If everything is fine then why is the Election Commission issuing new guidelines every day? We have to go to them. The EC comes to give clarifications but is not ready to work. The Election Commission is formed to work for the people. It is accountable and will have to answer questions. The EC did not issue any notice against the language used by the Prime Minister during the elections.”

While talking to the media, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay raut attacked India’s Election Commission.

“People have a lot of doubts about the Election Commission. The Election Commission is an impartial institution but the way the opposition parties have to repeatedly go and fold their hands in front of the Election Commission and bring up certain issues, the Election Commission turns a deaf ear to it. These are not the signs of an impartial institution. The Prime Minister sits in meditation on the day of the election and the entire focus of the channels is on him. This is a kind of violation of the code of conduct… The Election Commission is working like a branch of the BJP,” he was heard saying.

Earlier, Khalistani terror outfit ‘Sikhs for Justice (SFJ)’ also called for a “lockdown” of India’s India’s High Commission in Ottawa and its consulates in Vancouver and Toronto in Canada on the 40th anniversary of Operation Bluestar on 6th June. The threat was issued by SFJ terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in a video.

On Sunday (2nd May), controversial ‘activist’ Teesta Setalvad called for ‘peaceful assembly’ of people outside counting centres. “This will ensure that if something wrong happens inside those centres, then, we will know about it.”

Given her past record of rumour-mongering, such gathering of people outside counting centres can trigger unrest and stir and law and order.

Congress-friendly ‘journalist’ Neelu Vyas threatened a mass uprising after alleging possible ‘vote rigging’ in elections.

It may be recalled that former Congress MP Kapil Sibal earlier issued a checklist for EVMs to suggest the possibility of tampering. The Election Commission was quick to clarify that all protocols listed by him are already present in the EVM manual

Amid insinuations and threats made by politicians from RJD, Samajwadi Party and the Congress, a report by The Tribune claimed a possible assembly of ‘farmer protestors’ at the Shambhu border.

It was alarming to see that politicians belonging to the Opposition were fuelling tensions and instigating the masses over the probability of their loss in elections. Instead of appealing for calm, they were seen doing everything possible to disturb the law and order situation.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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