Open Letter to Election Commission on  Concerns regarding the Conduct of the Lok Sabha Elections 2024

Election Commission of India1


The Chief Election Commissioner of India, Election Commission of India,

Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road, New Delhi – 110001.

10th May 2024

Dear Sir,

Sub: Concerns regarding the conduct of the Lok Sabha Elections 2024.

We, the undersigned citizens of India, are writing to you with concerns regarding the manner in which the Lok Sabha 2024 elections are being conducted. With Phases 1, 2, and 3 of the elections completed on 19th April, 26th April and 7th May, several issues have emerged calling into question the fairness as well as parity of the elections, which we are highlighting below for your action.

Voter turnout data must be shared in numbers

At the very outset, we are concerned that the voter turnout data for the now completed phases of the Lok Sabha 2024 elections for Phases 1,1 2,2 and 33 has been declared only in percentages as 66.14%, 66.71% and 65.68% respectively. However, actual and absolute numbers of voter turnout of how many votes were polled have not been released, in an unexplained departure from the norm.

We are aware that each presiding officer of a polling station compiles the votes polled data at the end of the poll and records the same in Form 17, which is handed over to the political party representatives and send to the Returning Officer, who in turn compiles data of all the polling stations and sends the final voter turnout to the EC. This is done in absolute numbers. In the 2019 elections, the data contained numbers of the actual total electors, total voters along with the percentage turnout in 2014 and compared with 2019 per constituency.4 The absolute numbers of gender- wise turnout in each constituency in 2019 was also released 2 days after polling in 2019.

However, only percentages have been released for the present elections without any numbers, raising concerns regarding the transparency in the conduct of the elections. Concerned members of civil society have earlier written to your office highlighting the need for proactive disclosures of votes polled due to the large fluctuation in voter figures,5 as in Phase 1, the ECI voter turnout estimate as of 7 pm on 19th April was 60% but the updated figure published 11 days later on 30th April was 66.14%, an unexplained jump of 6%. Similarly, for Phase 2, the approximate voter turnout as of 7 pm on 26th April was stated to be 60.96% but was revised to 66.71% by 30th April.6 This jump in voter turnout percentages, without any explanation, and after inordinate delays, hinders public trust in the electoral process.

It is well establishment that the hallmark of democratic elections is its fairness and transparency, as well as the fulfilment of the citizen’s right to information regarding the electoral process. Thus, it is imperative that the voter data be released in numbers and also be released without inordinate delays.

Discrepancies in 2019 voter data

In 2019, reports indicated discrepancies between votes polled and votes counted in the Lok Sabha elections in 373 constituencies, including a surplus of more than 18,000 in Kancheepuram, 14,512 in Sriperumbudur, etc.7 However, the ECI has merely explained this discrepancy in the Supreme Court as a discrepancy in the live voter turnout data which was uploaded on the website, and that there was no mismatch between the data of votes polled as per EVMs recorded in Form 17C and the results declared per Form 20.8 However, the response is not only evasive, but fails to address how the live voter turnout data published with inputs from polling station Presiding officers had such a huge discrepancy in several constituencies.

Failure to combat hate speech during elections

We are shocked by the increasingly hateful pitch of the present elections, in which candidates have engaged in flagrant violations of the Model Code of Conduct (“MCC”). Although the MCC prohibits the incitement of hatred and appeals to voters on religious grounds,9 there have been flagrant violations of the MCC by political parties, their candidates and star campaigners, including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is a star campaigner of the BJP. Although several complaints have been filed with the ECI regarding several of his speeches in violation of the MCC, mere notice has been issued to BJP Chief JP Nadda regarding a violation.10

We also note the repeated violations by candidates such as Tejasvi Surya, who have attempted to vitiate the atmosphere of communal harmony during elections. The BJP Karnataka party has also posted several hateful statements on social media, including the latest post on 04.05.2024 on “X” demonizing the Muslim community. We are concerned that the ECI ordered Twitter (“X”) to pull down the post,11 but no action was taken against BJP Karnataka to either take down the post immediately or to ban any future posting by them. In fact, their post on “X” dated 23.04.2024 regarding the “Congress Manifesto or Muslim League Manifesto?” that evidently demonises the Muslim community and even goes so far as to state “The Congress’ sinister designs are clear: To take away the hard-earned money of Indians & to gift it to Muslims. They will seize our land, wealth and rights, only to gift them to ‘Peacefuls’.” is still available on “X”.12

There have also been hateful advertisements published in the newspaper by BJP Karnataka (latest on 05.05.2024 in Sunday Times) and open appeals to vote on the basis of religion by the BJP star campaigners and candidates, including Narendra Modi.13 We are gravely concerned by the repeated flagrant violations of the MCC by candidates and their parties, and the lack of strong action on the part of the ECI to not only curb such hate speeches, but to take effective action against the violators. Each day, appeals to vote on the basis of religion are being repeatedly made.

The Supreme Court has noted that persons of influence wield significant impact on the general public and owe a duty to be more responsible with their words, and that hate speech is a violation of the right to live with dignity.14 The Supreme Court has also noted that hate speech has a societal impact which lays the groundwork for later broad attacks on the vulnerable that can range from discrimination, to ostracism, segregation, deportation, violence and, in the most extreme cases, to genocide. The Court noted also that the root of the problem is not the absence of laws but a lack of effective execution, including effective regulation of hate speech by all agencies.15 Thus, it is imperative that the ECI takes pre-emptive action as well as remedial & punitive action against all hate speech during the elections.

Failure to take action against surrogate ads

It has been reported that the expenditure on surrogate advertising and targeted online campaigns by political actors to influence voter perception and beliefs are not under adequate scrutiny. The ECI must ensure accountability of political parties and digital platforms by adopting rights- based standards for regulating political expenditure on online ads and targeted campaigning. The ECI has also failed to disclose any action taken on such surrogate advertisements.

Although it has earlier been brought to the attention of your office the manner in which technology affects electoral outcomes,16 including use of deepfakes and voter surveillance, the ECI has not responded or taken adequate action to secure these violations.

Failure to take equal and impartial action against parties

We note the selective manner in which the ECI appears to be taking action against violations of the MCC, which vitiates a level playing field during elections. Although the ECI has issued directions to the Aam Aadmi Party mandating alterations to their campaign anthem, has barred K. Chandrasekhar Rao, the Founder of Bharat Rashtra Samithi, from campaigning for 48 hours for derogatory remarks against Congress, has barred A. Raja from campaigning for 48 hours and also delisted him from the DMK’s star campaigner list, similar action has not been taken against Narendra Modi or the BJP for their repeated violations of the MCC. We seek an explanation from the ECI regarding the action taken on several complaints against parties and why selective action has been taken.

Failure to stop campaigning violations

Although several violations have been brought to the notice of the ECI, including Narendra Modi’s hate speeches that demonize the Muslim community, proper action has not been taken against the violations, including delisting violators from the star campaigners list. Only notice has been issued in several violations or FIRs have been registered, without any stringent action against the political party.

We have noted that the lack of a level playing field has led to several opposition candidates to withdraw their candidature, including 8 candidates in Surat in which the seat has been won as uncontested by the BJP. The declaration of seats as won for being uncontested is a travesty, and the ECI must ensure not only that there is a level playing field, but that there are no threats or intimidations that are forcing candidates to withdraw.

We wish to highlight here that public trust in the electoral process is the indelible base on which our democracy is built. There have been pertinent concerns regarding the flagrant violations of the MCC, the freezing of accounts of opposition leaders, bias of mainstream media, the use of religious appeals for votes, discrepancies of voter turnout and a survey revealed an alarming decrease in trust of the ECI with “58% of the respondents expressed some or great distrust in the Election Commission in 2024 as opposed to 78% evincing trust in the poll body following the 2019 Lok Sabha election”.17

In order to secure public trust in the electoral process, we demand that the ECI must take urgent note of the above highlighted concerns and ensure a level-playing field in the remaining phases of the elections. We are reposing our faith in the ECI that it will take our concerns with the seriousness deserved, and respond with urgency.


  1. Ensure that Mr. Modi who is a star campaigner for BJP is banned from campaigning for 96 hours.
  2. Ensure that an inquiry is conducted into candidates being pressurised to withdraw/ being offered incentives to withdraw in Surat, Indore, Gandhinagar and elsewhere
  3. Immediately declare the number of votes polled in all the three phases conducted so far
  4. Explain conclusively the discrepancies in votes polled and counted in 2019
  5. Ensure that action is taken against all parties for MCC violations
  6. Take immediate action against surrogate ads by political parties


  1. People’s Union for Civil Liberties
  2. National Alliance for People’s Movements
  3. Bahutva Karnataka
  4. All India Lawyers Association for Justice
  5. Shramik Mukti Dal
  6. Young Leaders of Active Citizenship
  7. Bharat Bachao Andolan
  8. Prashant
  9. Hate Speech Beda
  10. New Trade Union Initiative
  11. Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy
  12. Citizens for the Constitution
  13. The Bombay Catholic Sabha
  14. Centre for promoting Democracy
  15. Pani Haq Samiti
  16. Fridays For Future

Also signed by:

NameOrganisation / AffiliationCity / TownState
Meher Marfatia49/50 BooksMumbaiMaharashtra
Brinelle D’SouzaAcademic and ActivistMumbaiMaharashtra
N Indira RaniActivistHyderabadTelangana
Neera AdarkarAdarkar AssociatesMumbaiMaharashtra
Rakesh SAdvocateDelhiDelhi
Maimoona MollahAIDWA DelhiNew DelhiDelhi
Avani ChokshiAILAJBangaloreKarnataka
Ponniah RajamanickamAIPSNMaduraiTamil Nadu
A.SuneethaAll India Feminist AllianceHyderabadTelangana
  MadhulikaAll India Lawyers Association for Justice  Bangalore  Karnataka
Mohamed MiandadAPCRChennaiTamil Nadu
wasim abdullaapcrbangalorekarnataka
Ali AsgharASEEMHyderabadTelangana
Proteep MallikAzim Premji UniversityBengaluruKarnataka
Rajkranti Ganpatrao walseBadrinarayan Barwale Mahavidyalaya Jalna  Jalna  Maharashtra
TwishaBahutva KarnatakaBengaluruKarnataka
Sabyasachi SaikiaBahutva KarnatakaBengaluruKarnataka
Sayantan ChowdhuryBarefoot AcademyChennaiTamil Nadu
Feroze MithiborwalaBharat Bachao AndolanMumbaiMaharashtra
Ali BhojaniBharat Bachao AndolanMumbaiMaharashtra
ShashiBharti IndianMumbaiMaharashtra
Dr Ahmad Faraz KhanBPTNew DelhiNew Delhi
Mohammed S Pachorawala  Citizen  Mumbai  Maharashtra
Khairun nisha pathanCitizenAhmedabadGujarat
CharuCitizen of IndiaAmritsarPunjab
Sabina BashaCitizen of IndiaBangaloreKarnataka
  A.G.K. Menon  Citizen of India  New DelhiNational Capital Territory of Delhi
Manju VCIVIC BangaloreBengaluruKarnataka
Meera MadhavConcerned citizenBengaluruKarnataka
Vakkalanka PrasadConcerned CitizenBengaluruKarnataka
ShraddhaConcerned citizensBangaloreKarnataka
Gloria ClarenceCongregationSagarMadhya Pradesh
Daanish SirajCongressHyderabadTelangana
Ajit PatilCPI ML LiberationMumbaiMaharashtra
Melwyn RemediosECI for fair electionsCalanguteGOA
Pratibha RaoEducatorBengaluruKarnataka
  S.KrishnaswamyEx Madurai Kamaraj University  Madurai  TN
Kesari HaravooFilmmakerBengaluruKarnataka
Sagari R RamdasFood Sovereignty AllianceHyderabadTelangana
  Sandhya GokhaleForum Against Oppression of Women  Mumbai  Maharashtra
Forum Against Oppression of WomenForum Against Oppression of Women  Mumbai  Maharashtra
  M. R. NandanFounder member, Karnataka Physics Association  Bangalore  Karnataka
Suresh PillaiFree and fair election.MumbaiMahari
Makarand SatheFree lancerPuneMaharashtra
G.G.ParikhFreedom FighterMumbaiMaharashtra
Smriti NevatiaFreelanceBombayMaharashtra
Vinay ShuklaFreelance FilmmakerMumbaiMaharashtra
Kamal GopinathFreelance journalistMysoreKarnataka
Gautam SontiFreelancerBangaloreKarnataka
Ankit Mumar GuptaGarbage Free IndiaKolkataWest Bengal
  Shaikh Faiyaz AlamGovandi Citizens Welfare Forum  Mumbai  Maharashtra
Sherna DasturGraphic DesignerDelhiDelhi
K Babu RaoH R FHyderabadTelangana
AnishaHasrat-e-Zindagi MamooliMumbaiMaharashtra
MridulHasrat-e-Zindagi MamuliMumbaiMaharashtra
Chayanika ShahHasrat-e-Zindagi MamuliMumbaiMaharashtra
Shals MahajanHasrat-e-Zindagi MamuliMumbaiMaharashtra
S Z H NaqviHGVSRohtakHaryana
SharmilaHome makerBangaloreKarnataka
DsouzaHome makerMumbaiMAHARASHTRA
Bindu MitterHomemakerBengaluruKarnataka
Bernadette CardozHousewifeMumbaiMaharashtra
Guddi S.LHum Bharat ke LogMumbaiMaharashtra
Cedric PrakashHuman Rights Activist/ WriterAhmedabadGujarat
ReshmaHuman rights forumHyderabadTelangana
U. G. SrinivasuluHuman Rights ForumAdoni TownAndhra Pradesh
Dr. Joseph XavierIDEAS CentreMADURAITamil Nadu
Ravinder KumarIIaaBangaloreKarnataka
Juny K WilfredIihsKochiKerala
Deepak MalghanIIM BangaloreBengaluruKarnataka
Ayan BanerjeeIISER KolkataKalyaniWest Bengal
Dennis MendoncaINCMumbaiMaharashtra
Lalitha MatthewIndependantBengaluruKarnataks
Preeti RIndependentBangaloreKarnataka
Sudha NIndependentBangaloreKarnataka
C G ManjulaIndependentBengaluruKarnataka
Shalu NigamIndependentDelhi NCRDelhi
Pradyumna RajashekarindependentBengaluruKarnataka
Ritu MenonIndependentDelhiDelhi
Rajashri DasguptaIndependent JournalistKolkataWest Bengal
Freny ManeckshaIndependent journalistThaneMaharashtra
  Ammu JosephIndependent journalist and author  Bengaluru  Karnataka
Veena ShatrugnaIndependent ResearcherBengaluruKarnataka
A R VasaviIndependent ResearcherBengaluruKarnataka
PrabhakaranIndia citizenBangaloreKarnataka
KAMiNi GOPALIndianKodaikanalTamil Nadu
  Paul RajaguruIndian Institute of Astrophysics  Bengaluru  Karnataka
  Sushma MallikIndian Institute of Astrophysics  Bangalore  Karnataka
Suraj MN HegdeIndian National CongressMysoreKarnataka
Pranay MaheshwariIndian National CongressAllahabadUttar Pradesh
Revathi kasturiIndividualBangaloreKarnataka
AlagammaiIndividualChennaiTamil Nadu
Sunil ShanbagIndividualMumbaiMaharashtra
Geeta ViswanathanIndividualBengaluruKarnataka
Rajani G Rao santoshIndividualBangalorekarnataka
Archana SarfareIndividualMumbaiMaharashtra
Renuka KadIndividualAurangabadMaharashtra
Chhavi SachdevIndividualMumbaiMaharashtra
Sd LalitaIndividualMumbaiMaharashtra
Anita GambhirIndividualSecunderabadTelangana
Shaibani AzamJamia Millia UniversityNew DelhiDelhi
Anant PhadkeJan Swasthya AbhiyanPuneMaharashtra
  Subodh MoreJati Anta Sanghrsha Samiti, Maharashtra  Mumbai  Maharashtra
Jayoo PatwradhanJayoo PatwardhanPuneMaharashtra
Abulkhair SiddiquiJIHLucknowU.P.
M. RajendranJournalistNew DelhiDelhi NCR
Dr Akhileshwari Ramagoud  Journalist and Academic  Secunderabad  Telangana
Lakshmi ManasaJP Morgan Chase Co.BangaloreKarnataka
Vernon de SaK G Mittal HospitalMumbaiMaharashtra
S ViswanathanKBABangaloreKarnataka
IrshadKurlaVoice FoundationMumbaiMaharashtra
Surbhi KarwaLawyerDelhiDelhi
Flavia AgnesMajlisMumbaiMaharashtra
Shabbir TamboliMash and associatesMUMBAIMaharashtra
  Manjulika DubeyMember, Indian National Congress  New Delhi  Delhi
Bonnie DiasN AMumbaiMaharashtra
Samita ChatterjeeNABengaluruKARNATAKA
Dhruva SenNABangaloreKarnataka
Anirudh AgarwalNADelhiDelhi
Dr.Sudhir VombatkereNAPMMysuruKarnataka
Ashalatha SNAPMHyderabadTelangana
  Satyajit MayorNational Centre for Biological Science  Bangalore  Karnataka
  Sujit Nikalje  Navi Mumbai Vikas AghadiKharghar, Navi Mumbai  Maharashtra
Sujata ChakrabortyNoneMumbaiMaharashtra
Chanda SinghNoneNew DelhiDelhi
Tanupam AkuliNoneBangaloreKarnataka
Ashok DeyNoneBengaluruKarnataka
Sudeshna BanerjeeNoneKolkataWest Bengal
To save our democracy.NoneBarodaGujarat
Nihal Khan HegdeNoneMumbaiMaharashtra
Minaz VaziralliNoneBangaloreKarnataka
Campaign Against Hate Speech  Organisation  Bengaluru  Karnataka
Padmaja ShawOsmania UniversityHyderabadTelangana
Mohammed wajeedOsmania universityHyderabadTelangana
  Lara JesaniPeople’s Union for Civil Liberties  Mumbai  Maharashtra
Suzan RahamanPersonalBengaluruKarnataka
Prajval ShastriphysicistBengaluruKarnataka
s m shervaniprivatenew delhinew delhi
Revathi NarayananPrivate citizenBangaloreKarnataka
Jayant KocharPrivate serviceGurgaonHaryana
John dsouzaProfessionalMumbaiMaharashtra
Raghavan RangarajanProfessorAhmedabadGujarat
Vertika Mani TripathiPUCLDelhiDelhi
Sudhir KumarPUCLChennaiTamil Nadu
Sukla SenPUCL, MaharashtraMumbaiMaharashtra
Anwar AliReclaim our RepublicHyderabadTelangana
  Hasina kResaercher and gender activist  Mumbai  Maharashtra
Sushil KhannaRetd professor IIM CalcuttaKolkataWest Begal
Angeli SurendranRetiredKozhikodeKerala
HariHaran VedhagiriRetiredChennaiTamilnadu
N.RajaramRetired academicVadodaraGujarat
  Soma RoyRetired Professor of English, Women’s Christian College  Kolkata  West Bengal
Dr M MazumdarRetired ScientistKolkataWest Bengal
A MajumdarRetired TeacherBolpurWest Bengal
  Rabin ChakrabortyRetired Teacher of Calcutta University  Kolkata  West Bengal
Joshua ChakramakalRV UniversityBangaloreKarnataka
Amrita BhattacharjeeSave Aarey MovementMumbaiMaharashtra
Ashwin ViswanathanScientistBengaluruKarnataka
Abulkhair SiddiquiSelfBHOPALM.P.
ReeSelfNew delhiDelhi
AnamSelfNew DelhiDelhi
Rizwan khanSelfNizamabadTelangana
Rahul PaiSelfBangaloreKarnataka
V.C.RaviChandranSelfChennaiTamil Nadu
RAVI KUMARSelfHyderabadTelangana
Shalini SanilselfErnakulamKerala
Natasha IypeSelfBangaloreKarnataka
Paul RosarioSelf employedKudalMh
Subhankar BiswasSelf employed professionalBangaloreKarnataka
Geeta VarmaSelf EngagedMumbaiMaharashtra
Ritu KhannaSelf-employedNew DelhiDelhi
Mohit GujarathiSelf. Citizen of India.Thane, Mumbai.Maharashtra
A K LaskarSenior citizenBengaluruKarnataka
Dilip HotaShramik Mukti DalPuneMaharashtra
Shaik SalauddinSocial ActivistHyderabadTelangana
Farooq HussainSocial activistHYDERABADTelangana
Khalida parveenSocial ActivistHyderabadTelangana
Parul DandikarSocial workerVadodaraGujarat
Dr KanadeSocialist Foundation PunePuneMaharashtra
Dr Smita KrishnanSt Xavier’s College MumbaiMumbaiMaharashtra
Dr. P. Rajesh Anantha Selvan  St. John’s College  Tirunelveli  Tamilnadu
Agnes VadasherrySt.Joseph’s conventBhopalMadhya pradesh
  Nidhi Singh NetamStudent at The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda  Vadodara  Gujarat
  Diya Elizabeth PrakashStudent of Law, O P Jindal Global University  Sonipat  Haryana
Rahul DewanjeeSundayOneKolkataWest Bengal
Anjan NandiTeacherKolkataWest Bengal
Dolphy DsouzaThe Bombay Catholic SabhaMumbaiMaharashtra
Prem ChandavarkarThinking citizenBengaluruKarnataka
Archana tanajeUnorganised workers unionMumbaiMaharashtra
  Dwiji guruVoter ID Bengaluru South parliamentary constituency  Bengaluru  Karnataka
  Sajaya KWomen & Transgender Orgs JAC  Hyderabad  Telangana
Aakar PatelWriterBangaloreKtaka
  Adithi HollaYoung Leaders of Active Citizenship  Bengaluru  Karnataka




4 percentages.

5 Authenticated voter turnout data to be contained in Part 1 of Form 17C r/w Rule 49S of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961.


7 votes-polled-and-counted-in-evm-on-multiple-seats#read-more.

8 in-2019-lok-sabha-elections-eci-tells-supreme-court-255418.

9 Section 123(3A) of the Representation of People Act, 1951; Chapter 7.2. “Corrupt Practices and Electoral Offences” in 7.2.2.(iii) of the MCC; “Do’s and Don’ts for Guidance of Candidates” at clause 13; Model Code of Conduct Rule I “General Conduct” under Clause

(1); Model Code of Conduct Rule I “General Conduct” under Clause (2); Model Code of Conduct Rule I “General Conduct” under Clause (3); Model Code of Conduct’s Clause 12 “Maintenance of High Standards During Election Campaign” at IX; ECI Advisory to political parties on plummeting level of public discourse during campaigning dated 01.03.2024.

10 bjp-chief-nadda-on-alleged-model-code-violation-against-pm-modi/article68105108.ece.




14 Amish Devgan v. Union of India ((2021) 1 SCC 1).

15 Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan v. Union of India and Ors. (AIR 2014 SC 1591).


17 retain-plurality-survey/article68055057.ece.

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