HM downplays Bangalore blast ahead of Karnataka polls

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Sushilkumar Shinde
Bangalore, April 18: Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde ruled out any threat to Karnataka assembly elections which will be held on May 5. The home minister's statement surfaced just a day after the bomb blast in the state capital Bangalore on Wednesday, April 17.

Speaking about further terror threat in Karnataka ahead of the crucial election, Shinde was quoted as saying, "We have been sending alerts to metros over 2-3 months about possible blasts." The home minister also asserted that the recent blast would not affect the elections in the state.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission (EC) has asked the Karnataka government, particularly the police, to take all possible measures to ensure that the May 5 polls are not disrupted.

The EC said this in the wake of the blast outside the BJP headquarters here on Wednesday, which had left 16 people injured. Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla, in-charge of the assembly polls, said the Commission had received information that the blast was an act of terror, according to one report.

Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar appealed to the media to maintain calm and not politicise the blast issue. He said the police were investigating the matter and were assisted by the central agencies.

He said the details would be known soon. The CM also said the government will take care of the loss of property caused in the blast and promised compensation. The NIA and NSG were examining the blast site.

A national news channel had on Wednesday reported that the Karnataka police had got an alert from intelligence agencies about a potential attack in Bangalore ahead of the elections. Though it was reported later that the alert was a general one and did not specify the target of the attack.

Bangalore Police have traced the registered owner of the motorbike which was used for bomb blast in which 16 people were injured.

The number plate of the bike has been traced to a retired telecom employee here, who said that he had sold the bike about four years ago, a police source said.

The two-wheeler with a Tamil Nadu registration number (TN 22 R 3769) belonged to KS Sankaranarayanan, a resident of Thillai Ganga Nagar in Chennai, they said. "The bike was in my son's name. But we sold it about four years back, since my son left for the US", he told the police.

Meanwhile, Karnataka government on Thursday announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh to anyone providing credible information on the blast. "We will reward Rs 5 lakh to anyone providing credible information on the bomb blast that would help us in cracking the case and arresting the suspects," stated Director General of Police (DGP) Lalrokhuma Pachau.

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