Citizens Launch Nationwide #VotersWillMustPrevail Campaign to Ensure Fair Vote Counting in 18th Lok Sabha Elections

Featured & Cover Citizens Launch Nationwide #VotersWillMustPrevail Campaign to Ensure Fair Vote Counting in 18th Lok Sabha Elections

As citizens deeply invested in various social movements concerning farmers, workers, women, and marginalized groups, including notable public intellectuals, we have actively engaged in the lead-up to the 18th Lok Sabha Elections, which began on April 19, 2024. Over the past ten months, we have noticed a concerning lack of exemplary conduct from the Election Commission of India (ECI). To address this, we convened two High-Level Broad Consultative Meetings in Bengaluru (May 21, 2024) and Delhi (May 28, 2024) with grassroots movements, civil society, and political parties.

In our continued commitment to the electoral process, voter awareness, booth-level vigilance, and ensuring accountability and transparency from statutory bodies, particularly the ECI, we have launched the nationwide campaign #VotersWillMustPrevail. This initiative aims to secure a fair and transparent vote-counting process. A structured Citizens Vigil will be organized to document and address any malpractices or misconduct by officials or politicians during the polling process, ensuring prompt dissemination and thorough follow-up. We call upon the responsible sections of the Indian media to support the publication of the Voters Will Must Prevail Programme.

To uphold the people’s will, we have resolved to establish a Vigilant Voter Task Force for Counting Day (June 4, 2024). Our key actions include:

1.Citizen Involvement: Citizens will engage in the counting process at the local level in Parliamentary Constituencies nationwide on June 4, 2024.

2.Collaboration with Opposition Parties: We will work closely with political parties from the Opposition to motivate Counting Agents, ensuring a methodical and thorough counting process, free from intimidatory tactics by the Regime.

3.Reminder to Election Officials: We will remind the ECI and all State Level Officers, right down to every booth, that their allegiance is to the Indian People and the Constitution, not the government in power.

4.Communication with District Officials: Letters will be sent to District Collectors, Deputy Commissioners, District Magistrates, and other officials functioning as Returning Officers, as well as ECI-appointed Observers, reminding them of their Constitutional Obligations and Duties.

5.Mobilization of Citizens: Citizens will be mobilized across the country, particularly in sensitive booths, to ensure that the vote-counting process is conducted by the Law and Rule Book, free and fair. This involvement, termed Ginti ki Chaukidaari, will be visible state-wise outside counting stations.

6.Counting Vigilance Manual: A manual will be created to facilitate this coordinated endeavor. To ensure functionality and effectiveness, four helpline numbers (two for North India and two for South India) will be established to record and respond to ground-level complaints. These helpline numbers will be operationalized shortly and widely publicized.

Furthermore, we will closely interact with the opposition INDIA alliance on issues of voter manipulation and subversion. Our actions aim to exercise the democratic and peaceful rights of the Indian people as mandated by the Constitution under Articles 324-326. We, the People of India, have a vested interest in restoring India to a vibrant, functioning democratic republic.

We express deep concern that never before in the history of the Indian Republic has the public’s faith in democratic institutions been so low. The ongoing subversion of the autonomy and independence of governance institutions necessitates alerting fellow citizens nationwide in the days and weeks ahead. We are deeply concerned about potential manipulations in the counting process and the subsequent transition period. On behalf of the electorate, we affirm that if the counting of votes and the declaration of results are conducted freely, fairly, and transparently, the mandate will clearly oppose the current regime’s policies. Fair implementation of this mandate will assuredly bring change to the People of India.

However, we are extremely concerned about the process that follows and whether it will proceed smoothly, democratically, and constitutionally. The entire period of this 18th Lok Sabha election, particularly post-declaration of polls and the implementation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), has seen unprecedented violations of the Constitution, Indian law, and the MCC, along with blatant electioneering malpractices. There is a genuine apprehension that these structured manipulations will persist during the counting process and beyond, potentially disrespecting the people’s mandate.

It is the People of India who elect a Government. No one is above the people. As the Preamble of our Constitution states, “We The People of India, are sovereign.”

We urge the Indian media and citizens to support and participate in this crucial vigilance effort, ensuring the democratic process is upheld and the people’s voice prevails.

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