New Delhi: On the eve of the all important Karnataka Assembly polls, the Election Commission on Friday ordered postponement of elections to the Rajrajeshwari (RR) Nagar Assembly seat to May 28, following the seizure of around 10,000 voter identity cards from a flat in RR Nagar constituency a couple of days back. Voting in the rest of Karnataka seats will be held as per schedule on Saturday.
The EC in its order on RR Nagar said that there is “definite inference” to suggest that efforts were made to induce voters in RR Nagar. After the polling in the seat on May 28, results will be declared on May 31— 16 days after the outcome of other constituencies will be known on May 15.
“The Commission is satisfied that the current electoral process (in the constituency) has been vitiated on account of unlawful activities of candidates and political parties,” the EC order said.
It said the parties and candidates tried to woo the electorate to vote for them and also tried to keep them away from casting their ballot.
The poll watchdog also directed the election authorities in the state to provide fresh voter identity cards to all those whose cards were recovered from the flat seven days before the fresh election date.
The EC order said the cards belonged to “voters in the vulnerable community” and added that random checks found that the cards were genuine. It said further investigation was required to ascertain who broke the door of the flat before three police constable reached the scene after receiving a phone call.
On Friday morning, the Congress made its second sojourn to the EC and petitioned the poll panel that BJP candidate B. Sriramulu be disqualified from contesting the Karnataka Assembly elections over an old “sting” video allegedly showing him trying to a bribe a former chief justice of India’s relative.
Mr Sriramulu, a close confidant of tainted mining baron and his brothers, is contesting from two constituencies — Molakalmuru and Badami. Chief minister Siddaramaiah is contesting from the Badami seat.
Senior members of the Congress delegation, including Kapil Sibal, Mukul Wasnik and Randeep Surjewala, also sought a ban on airing of content by two television channels allegedly defaming it.
Meanwhile, NDA ally Shiv Sena said that the BJP was trying to rig elections through EVMs.
“(PM Narendra) Modi talks about ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’. But although the Congress is coming to an end, its thoughts are not dying. The BJP is trying to finish the Congress by imbibing the qualities of that party. The ink rule is now over, but the BJP is rigging EVMs to win elections. People don’t trust the current method of polling any more. Only the masks of those sitting in power have changed, but the faces behind these masks are the same. The BJP has not defeated the Congress, but has merged it within itself,” the Sena said in an editorial in its mouthpiece “Samna”.