Karnataka elections 2018: EC unlikely to countermand polls in Rajarajeshwari Nagar constituency

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New Delhi | Updated: May 10, 2018 8:40:02 AM

The Election Commission had on Tuesday late night seized 9,746 voter cards along with around one lakh counterfoils from a house in SLV Park View Apartments in RR Nagar constituency.

Karnataka elections 2018, Election Commission, RR Nagar constituency, Bengaluru southKarnataka elections 2018: EC unlikely to countermand polls in RR Nagar constituency

The Election Commission has rushed deputy election commissioner Chandra Bhushan Kumar to Bengaluru to take first-hand stock of the situation in Rajarajeshwari Nagar constituency before taking a call on countermanding of polling. This comes after the recovery of close to 10,000 voter identity cards from a flat in Jalahalli on Tuesday night, triggering a political blame game and leaving the poll body in a tizzy. According to a report in The Indian Express, the EC is unlikely to accept the opposition BJP’s demand to issue an order to countermand elections here.

On Wednesday, a delegation of the BJP had met top Election Commission officials in Delhi and demanded to countermand the elections in Rajarajeshwari Nagar assembly seat. The delegation was led by Union minister Smriti Irani. She said that they requested the EC to ensure free and fair elections in Karnataka, adding that the only way to reinstate confidence in the electorate is to countermand the elections in the constituency.

Also a delegation of the Congress party had last evening visited the Election Commission office in the national capital. In a memorandum submitted to the EC, the party accused the BJP of trying to influence the elections in the southern state and also misusing the central agencies to malign its candidates.

The poll body had on Tuesday late night seized 9,746 voter cards along with around one lakh counterfoils from a house in SLV Park View Apartments in RR Nagar. It had also recovered copying machines, cash and other documents. The recovery was made following a clash between few people, suspected to be workers of political parties, in the apartment. A police case has also been registered and so far two persons have been arrested.

State chief electoral officer Sanjeev Kumar said the seized identity cards were genuine and are of RR Nagar constituency residents. The IE report said that poll body believes there is no evidence of bogus cards. Kumar said that random verification shows they are genuine and that they have been collected for some purpose. “Further investigations will reveal the purpose,” he said.

The poll body official, however, admitted that prima facie, it seems like an effort to influence voters. “It can be inferred as efforts to bribe for votes,” Kumar added. According to him, some visiting cards and a couple of pamphlets of a political party were also found in the flat. He said that the officials have not reached to a situation to link the ‘operations that were going in the flat to any political party on this basis alone’.

Citing Election Commission sources, The Indian Express reported that it was not convinced that the atmosphere has been vitiated and, therefore, needs cancellation of elections in RR Nagar constituency.

Meanwhile, campaigning for assembly elections in Karnataka will end at 5 pm today. The state will go to polls on Saturday (May 12) to elect a new assembly. Out of 224 constituencies, voting will take place for 223 seats. The tenure of current assembly expires on May 28.

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