Congress petitions EC over recovery of voter ID cards in Karnataka
The Congress on Wednesday petitioned the Election Commission (EC), demanding action against the BJP for "stage managing" the recovery of thousands of voter identity cards in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar Assembly constituency in Karnataka in a "fake midnight drama".
A Congress delegation, led by senior party leaders Anand Sharma and Motilal Vora, met the EC officials and alleged that the BJP was indulging in "malpractices".
"We hereby 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," the Congress 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, "A delegation of the Congress party met the EC officials. We have submitted a detailed memorandum about the malpractices of the BJP and a concerted attempt by the ruling party, with the assistance of central agencies, including the Income Tax department, to subvert the process of free-and-fair elections, target Congress candidates, carry out midnight raids and enact conspiracies."
"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," he claimed.
The senior Congress leader also claimed that the BJP was facing an "imminent defeat" in Karnataka and alleged that "last night's midnight drama was state-managed by the BJP" and it has been using huge amounts of cash to influence the voters of the southern state.
"In that constituency (Raja Rajeshwari Nagar), this drama was enacted and it was not the EC or the police, but the BJP people who raided a flat which belongs to a BJP leader and the tenant is also a BJP leader," Sharma alleged.
"The fake, concocted and fabricated midnight drama was enacted by the BJP, with a sole intent to impede free and fair elections," he said, alleging that several reports have come on certain BJP candidates distributing money with impunity and "the CEO, Karnataka has failed to take note of the same or initiate action".
Sharma claimed the flat raided belonged to Manjula Nanjamuri, who has rented out the flat to Rakesh, both of whom are BJP leaders and contested on BJP ticket. Rakesh has also been a corporator.
He also alleged that it is not one constituency, but dozens where the BJP is going to "stage-manage incidents not only to influence the elections but somehow, through these tactics with the active support of the central government agencies delay elections in some constituencies because they know the numbers are against them".
The other members of the delegation included Vivek Tankha, Amee Yajnik and Pranav Jha.
The BJP, on the other hand, is demanding countermanding of polls in the constituency.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar alleged that Congress candidate and sitting MLA Munirathna Naidu was behind the "racket", which was "exposed" by BJP worker Rakesh.