Mistry slams Tharoor over allegations of ‘irregularities’ in Cong prez poll

New Delhi: Congress’s central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry on Thursday accused Shashi Tharoor’s team of having two faces — one for the party’s poll body and one for the media — and rejected allegations of irregularities during the just-concluded AICC presidential poll, sources said.

In his response to Team Tharoor’s letter in which “extremely serious irregularities” were flagged in the conduct of the election in Uttar Pradesh, Mistry said the poll body satisfied the candidate on every complaint but despite that he raised all those points in the media before bringing them to “our notice”.

“I am sorry to say that you had one face before me which communicated that you’re satisfied with all our answers and action and different face in the media which made all these allegations against us,” Mistry said in his letter to Tharoor’s chief election agent Salman Soz, according to sources.

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The campaign team of Tharoor, who lost the party’s presidential polls to Mallikarjun Kharge, had written to Mistry, flagging “extremely serious irregularities” in the conduct of the election in Uttar Pradesh. Besides demanding that all votes from Uttar Pradesh be deemed invalid, Tharoor’s campaign team had also separately raised “serious issues” in the conduct of the election in Punjab and Telangana.

In his letter to Mistry, Soz had said the facts are “damning” and the election process in Uttar Pradesh is “devoid of credibility and integrity”.

In his response to Team Tharoor, Mistry said, “You say in your letter that ‘we kept quiet in the party’s interest and we saw unjust and unfair treatment that prevented us from operating on a level playing field’. We satisfied you on every complaint you made to us and you agreed to all of them and expressed that you’re satisfied, despite that you raised all those points in the media before bringing them to our notice.”

“You tried creating a mountain out of a mole by creating an impression that the entire exercise was unfair to your candidate,” he said.

To put the record the straight, Mistry said he must state that the party’s poll body showed Tharoor’s team the list of all the voters two days before the candidate filed their nomination.

“Subsequently, we gave you the list of all the voters along with their telephone numbers. You alleged in the media that you did not receive phone numbers for 3,000 voters despite the fact that you and Mr. Kharge both received approximately 9,400 phone numbers which were available with us.

“You alleged that we were putting ‘1’ for voting because Mr. Kharge had ‘1’ against his name as serial number which may indicate as if someone is suggesting to vote for serial number-1. We accommodated your request and changed it to tick-mark…and despite that you went to the media alleging that Central Election Authority was conspiring against you,” Mistry said.

After Team Tharoor’s letter dated October 18 came in public domain, Soz had said on Twitter, “In light of complaints from our UP team yesterday, we wrote to @INCIndia’s CEA immediately, a standard practice. Subsequent discussions with the CEA have assured us of a fair inquiry.”

Tagging Soz’s tweet, Tharoor had said, “It was unfortunate that a strictly internal letter to the CEA was leaked to the media. I hope this clarification by Salman Soz ends an unnecessary controversy. This election was meant to strengthen @INCIndia, not to divide it. Let’s move on.”

Asked about the issue at the presser, Tharoor had said that the leak of that letter was unfortunate, “it is certainly not something we would have done, getting some very educated guesses where it came from”.

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