Bengaluru, March 28: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has bestowed a great deal of power on two Amits--president Amit Shah and IT cell head Amit Malviya. While the senior Amit with his sheer willpower, political shrewdness and hard work is winning elections after elections across the country for the BJP, the younger Amit has built a robust empire for the saffron party online. This is what political experts opine. Because of the two Amits, Prime Minister Narendra Modi without any "tension" is managing the country so well, according to a BJP leader in Karnataka, who didn't want to be identified.
Unfortunately, on Tuesday, when the Election Commission (EC) announced the date for the most important poll of the year--Karnataka Assembly elections 2018--both the Amits "slipped" and with them, the BJP too "fell", at least figuratively. First, reports stated that an "overzealous" junior Amit tweeted the polling and counting dates for the southern state at least 15 minutes before Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) OP Rawat announced the same at a press meet in the national capital. The tweet was immediately spotted by Delhi journalists who asked the EC officials at the press briefing about the "date leak" before the actual announcement.
The poll panel called the leak as a "very serious issue" that merited a probe and "stringent action". The only relief for the EC in the entire controversy was that junior Amit got the counting date for the Karnataka elections wrong. The EC announced that the elections to the 224-member Karnataka Assembly will take place on May 12. The counting of votes will take place on May 15. While in Malviya's tweet, which has been deleted after the uproar, the counting date was mentioned as May 18. Along with Malviya, Karnataka Congress social media in-charge, Srivatsa B, too tweeted about the polling and counting dates before the official announcement. Both in their defence said that their tweets were based on television reports.
Nonetheless, the damage was done as once again the credibility of the poll panel came under the scanner. Malviya, who is, of course, more well-known than Srivatsa, had to bear the brunt of all the accusations and trolling on social media. The Congress, perhaps oblivious to Srivatsa's blunder, attacked Malviya and the BJP over the vexed tweet and once again alleged that the saffron party in power at the Centre is controlling the poll panel.
Attacking the BJP, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala called the saffron party a "Super Election Commission" for almost rightly guessing the dates. Surjewala also raised doubts over the credibility of the EC.
BJP becomes the ‘Super Election Commission’ as they announce poll dates for Karnataka even before the EC.— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) March 27, 2018
Credibility of EC is on test.
Will EC now issue notice to BJP President, Amit Shah & register an FIR against BJP IT Head for leaking EC’s confidential information? pic.twitter.com/i3vU2iJpjH
Defending his party colleague's tweet, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "Amit Malviya's tweet was based on a TV channel's source. It had no intention to undermine the stature of EC. A Karnataka Congress leader had also tweeted the same thing. We agree that he (Malviya) shouldn't have tweeted it."
Malviya also retweeted a tweet by the BJP which mentioned about the letter he had submitted to the EC pertaining to the controversial tweet.
Letter submitted to the Election Commission by Shri @malviyamit, National In-charge, Information and Technology, BJP regarding a tweet pertaining to the election dates in Karnataka. https://t.co/0mDUFzOKCH pic.twitter.com/CziIhciO2B— BJP (@BJP4India) March 27, 2018
If you thought your daily dose of controversy got over, then wait a minute. Tuesday offered more to news junkies. What left everyone's jaws opened was a statement by senior Amit when he called the previous government headed by his party's state unit president BS Yeddyurappa as the most corrupt in the history of Karnataka. Of course, it was a slip of the tongue which was immediately corrected by Yeddyurappa and one more BJP colleague of Shah sitting beside him at a press conference in Davangere, Karnataka. Actually, Shah wanted to attack incumbent Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah but committed a faux pas.
"The government headed by Mr Yeddyurappa was the most corrupt in the history of Karnataka," said Shah. But again, the damage had been done which left the BJP embarrassed. The biggest casualty in the entire episode, which to a layman was also hilarious as Shah himself admitted the "truth", was none other than Yeddyurappa, the party's chief ministerial candidate in the state.
In his earlier stint as the state CM, the 75-year-old BJP leader was forced to step down in August 2011 after a report by the Karnataka's then Lokayukta Santosh Hedge found him guilty of corruption. The Congress, on its part, 'gleefully' tweeted the video of Shah from the press briefing. "The #ShahOfLies finally speaks truth. Thank you @AmitShah," tweeted Siddaramaiah.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi too tweeted against the BJP.
Now that the BJP IT cell has announced Karnataka elections, time for a sneak preview of our top secret campaign video!— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 27, 2018
Gifted to us by the BJP President, our campaign in Karnataka is off to a fabulous start. He says Yeddyurappa ran the most corrupt Govt ever...
Amid all these fuss over "blunders" by two Amits, the BJP is hoping the "anti-incumbency wave" against the Congress will finally help the party to grab power in the southern state ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
|Karnataka Assembly Election dates|
|Date of notification||April 17|
|Last date to file nominations||April 24|
|Last date to withdraw nominations||April 27|
|Date of polling||May 12|
|Date of counting||May 15|