Cong, BJP trade charges over recovery of voter I-cards in Karnataka
tween the Congress and the BJP, with both accusing each other of being behind it and petitioning the Election Commission seeking action and countermanding of the poll.
The row erupted three days before the May 12 polls with the Congress accusing the BJP of “stage managing” the recovery of the I-cards in a “fake midnight drama”.
The BJP, on the other hand, accused the Congress of speaking a “lie” and demanded that the poll for the seat be countermanded. It also accused the Congress of trying to influence the assembly polls in Karnataka.
Both the major contenders for power in the southern state also claimed that the flat from which the recovery was made belonged to a woman associated with the rival party.
The parties also sent high-level delegations to the EC and presented memorandum to it.
The BJP delegation included union ministers JP Nadda, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Smriti Irani, SS Ahluwalia, Dharmendra Pradhan and the party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi. It told the EC that scrapping the poll in the constituency was necessary to “reinstate people’s faith” in the electoral process.
Briefing reporters after meeting the poll panel officials, Nadda said, “We have demanded countermanding of the election in Rajarajeshwari Nagar assembly constituency in Karnataka.”
He alleged that the incident showed the design of the Congress to influence the election process in the high-stake state polls. There was “enough evidence” for this, he claimed.
“Congress party and its candidate are behind this scam. Whereas BJP acted vigilantly and workers exposed this. Our party workers had informed the local authorities at 11 am but no action was taken till 4 pm by the local administration. This shows the biased approach of local administration by favouring Congress,” he said.
“We have also appealed to the EC to take cognisance of the investigative media reports in this case and take strict action against those who are behind this,” Irani said.
The Congress delegation, comprising party leaders Anand Sharma, Motilal Vora, Vivek Tankha, Amee Yajnik and Pranav Jha, met the EC officials and alleged that the BJP was indulging in “malpractices”.
“We request the Election Commission in accordance with parliamentary and democratic traditions, to enquire into and take strict and prompt action in the said matter whilst bearing in mind the Model Code of Conduct against the BJP leaders/office bearers for violation of Model Code of Conduct,” theCongress memorandum said.
It also said that sanctity and purity of elections are fundamental basis of a democracy and the EC as the watchdog of free and fair elections is duty bound to take immediate cognisance and direct registration of offences against all such persons who are directly and indirectly indulging in willful manipulation of government machinery, and abuse and misuse of power.
“We hereby seek directions from the Election Commission to initiate the process of prosecution against perpetrators of crime including BJP leaders for committing an offence of personation at elections.
“To direct the CEO and concerned Govt agencies including IT department to restrain from any prejudicial action against KPCC and its leaders without prior permission till end of the assembly elections,” the memorandum said.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Sharma said, “The BJP webbed a fake midnight drama, hurling innuendoes and false allegations as also misused the government agencies, particularly Income Tax Department to intimidate Congress candidates. This has become the norm for BJP in Karnataka.” PTI