Congress presidential candidate Shashi Tharoor’s team has discussed with the head of the party’s central electoral authority the issue of a policy requiring PCC delegates to write on the ballot bearing Mallikarjun Kharge the serial number ‘1’ and ‘Mallikarjun Kharge wears ticking a ‘1’ next to the name of her choice Tharoor on ‘2’, sources said on Sunday.
After Tharoor’s team reported this issue, Mistry reportedly informed them that a tick instead of “1” is now accepted for the preferred candidate’s name, the sources said.
In the instructions for the election issued on Saturday, Mistry said PCC members “will mark a ‘1’ against the candidate’s name on the ballot and fold the ballot to place it in the ballot box.”
Tharoor’s team had raised the matter with Mistry, stating that it could confuse voters as Kharge is on serial number 1 and Tharoor is on serial number 2 on the ballot and would put a “1” in front of the preferred candidate’s name, Tharoor, with one “Downside,” the sources said.
Mistry cited the party’s charter for writing “1” before the preferred choice. However, Tharoor’s team pointed out that it is only intended for cases where there are two or more candidates and preferences need to be made. Finally, on Sunday afternoon, Mistry told Tharoor’s team that a tick would need to be placed in place of ‘1’ to reflect the preferred choice, the sources said.
Voters are instructed to put a tick in the box in front of the candidate they wish to vote for and putting any other symbol or writing a number would invalidate the vote, the message said, which was sent from Misty’s office sent to the delegates. Tharoor’s team has repeatedly pointed to an uneven playing field and violation of guidelines by the party’s central electoral authority.
They also raised the issue of officials openly expressing support for Kharge, most recently Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Mistry said last week that the congressional presidential election will be held in secret and no one will know who voted for whom. He had claimed that a level playing field was guaranteed for both candidates. The election for the election of the party leader will take place on Monday, the counting will start on Wednesday.
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