In a sharp rebuttal against Shashi Tharoor’s claim of “irregularities" in the conduct of the Congress Presidential election, AICC central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry on Thursday hit out at the senior leader for being two-faced.
“We accommodated your request and despite that, you went to media alleging Central Election Authority was conspiring against you," Mistry said a day after Tharoor wrote to the party’s chief election authority, flagging “extremely serious irregularities" in the conduct of the election in Uttar Pradesh and “serious issues" in polling in Punjab and Telangana.
Hitting out at the Thiruvananthapuram MP, Mistry said that while Tharoor had told him he is satisfied with the concerns regarding the irregularities, he made different allegations in front of the media. “I am sorry to say that you had one face before me which communicated that you’re satisfied with all our answers and different face in the media which made all these allegations against us," he said.
On Wednesday, Tharoor’s chief election agent Salman Soz, who had earlier made serious allegations regarding “disturbing facts" and the election process in Uttar Pradesh being “devoid of credibility and integrity", later said the matter was a “standard practice" after the letter came in the public domain.
“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," he said on Twitter
Tagging Soz’s tweet, Tharoor had said the matter was “leaked to the media", called the row an “unnecessary controversy", and urged people to “move on" from the issue. “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," he had said.
However, later in the evening after conceding defeat to Mallikarjun Kharge in the party presidential poll, Tharoor told media that such “glitches were bound to happen". “Our party didn’t hold polls for 22 years. In elections of this nature, there were bound to be glitches. Leadership by and large stayed with Mr Kharge," he said.
Reiterating his earlier statement on unequal ground for the polls, he said, “I batted on an uneven pitch” and was “only cautious” about “ball tampering”, in a reference to the earlier statement on irregularities.
Kharge got 7,897 votes and Tharoor 1,072 votes, while 416 votes were declared invalid in the Congress’ 20th Presidential elections. Defeating Tharoor by a massive margin, Kharge becomes the first non-Gandhi chief of Congress in two decades and the sixth in the party’s 137-year-old history.
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