The Election Commission has sent a reminder to the government to get the allegations of use of money power in the recent Karnataka Rajya Sabha polls probed by the CBI even as it has unveiled measures to check foul play in elections to the Upper House and Legislative Councils.
On June 9, while the Commission had refused to cancel Rajya Sabha polls to four Karnataka seats following TV sting operations which alleged use of money power to influence MLAs (voters), it had asked the Ministry of Personnel to order a “deeper and wider” probe by CBI into the allegations.
Now, the Commission has reminded the government of its recommendation for a CBI probe as three months have lapsed since the first request was made, official sources said.
After encountering allegations of use of money power in Rajya Sabha polls in Karnataka and Jharkhand and an ‘ink controversy’ in Haryana, the poll watchdog has unveiled a string of measures to prevent foul play in Legislative Council and Rajya Sabha polls.
In a detailed order to all Chief Electoral Officers last week, the Commission said from the day the notification for elections is issued, a 24X7 control room be set up to handle all complaints “including but not restricted to” undue influence by offering cash or kind to a voter with a view to getting his vote, any type of threats, coercion to voters, misuse of state machinery and partisan or unbecoming attitude of officials connected to elections.
It said though there is no ceiling of “lawful expenditure” in Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council polls, “ostentatious display of money power and bribing of electors have to be checked.”
As part of the measures, EC has directed that a special sketch pen will be used to mark votes in future Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council elections.
The move comes following the ink controversy in the Haryana Rajya Sabha polls where 12 votes marked using a wrong pen were declared invalid leading to the defeat of Congress-backed independent candidate R K Anand, a lawyer, who lost to media baron Subhash Chandra.
“The Commission has issued directions that an integrated violet sketch pen of specific design manufactured by a particular firm shall be used in all future elections.
“Such a pen will be the instrument for recording preferences on ballot paper by the voter and at time of poll it shall be given to each voter by the designated polling officer and shall be taken back from him after the voter comes out of the voting compartment. Any deviation from it will not be allowed under any circumstance,” the poll watchdog said.