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March 22, 2024

INDIA Bloc Set to Challenge Alleged Targeting of Opposition Leaders with Election Commission

The INDIA alliance, led by Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, is poised to voice its objections to the purported targeting of opposition leaders before the Lok Sabha 2024 and state Assembly elections in a forthcoming meeting with the Election Commission.

Expressing her condemnation on a social media platform, Banerjee strongly criticized the recent arrest of Arvind Kejriwal, the elected Chief Minister of Delhi, denouncing it as an attack on democratic principles. She emphasized the selective targeting of opposition leaders while individuals accused under various investigations are seemingly allowed to operate with impunity, particularly those who have aligned themselves with the BJP.

In her online statement, Banerjee articulated, “It’s outrageous that while elected opposition CMs are being deliberately targeted and arrested while individuals accused under CBI/ED investigations are allowed to continue their malpractices with impunity, especially after aligning with the BJP. This is a blatant assault on democracy.”

The INDIA alliance, representing a coalition of opposition parties, intends to convey its disapproval of such actions during the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) period in its upcoming meeting with the Election Commission. Mamata Banerjee reaffirmed the alliance’s commitment to democratic norms and the protection of opposition voices in the political landscape.

Attending the meeting on behalf of the Trinamool Congress will be MPs Derek O’Brien and Md Nadimul Haque, underscoring the significance of the issue at hand.

The arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on charges of money laundering and corruption in connection with the 2021-22 Delhi Excise policy case has stirred controversy. Despite Kejriwal’s appeals, the Delhi High Court declined to intervene against any potential “coercive action” by the agency.

In parallel developments, the Congress party raised concerns over alleged unfair practices by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the general elections. Congress Chief Mallikarjun Kharge highlighted the freezing of the party’s bank accounts, which has hampered their election campaigning efforts. Additionally, Kharge criticized the BJP’s reliance on electoral bonds for fundraising, suggesting an attempt to stifle opposition voices.

With the commencement of the Model Code of Conduct on March 16, signaling the initiation of election protocols, the political landscape is intensifying. The Lok Sabha elections are scheduled to take place in seven phases from April 19 to June 1, with the counting of votes slated for June 4.

The forthcoming meeting between the INDIA alliance and the Election Commission underscores the significance of safeguarding democratic principles and ensuring fair electoral practices amidst escalating tensions and allegations of bias.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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