In a late-night press conference on Tuesday chief electoral officer Sanjiv Kumar said that they have seized 9,746 original voter ids.
Just days ahead of Karnataka assembly elections, for which the voting is scheduled for May 12 and counting will be done on May 15, the Election Commission has seized around 10,000 original voter ids in Rajarajeshwarinagar in Bengaluru.
In a late-night press conference on Tuesday Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sanjiv Kumar said that they have seized 9,746 original voter ids and some business cards of sitting Congress MLA and party candidate Muniratna from an apartment in Jalahalli allegedly belonging to a former BJP corporator Manjula Nanjamari from the ward of the same name that comes under the Rajarajeshwarinagar assembly segment.
“The cards were wrapped in small bundles of paper with some phone numbers and names written on it. They seem to be from some slums. We have filed an FIR on the matter. It is being investigated and monitored directly by the Election Commission. This is certainly a serious matter. An appropriate decision will be taken in the next 24 hours,” said CEO Kumar.
There were reportedly more such cards and laptops, printers “which were allegedly taken away by some occupants,” the CEO said. “There are some visiting cards of the sitting MLA at the flat."
There are a total of 4,71,459 voters in Rajarajeshwarinagar constituency, and the elector to population ratio was 75.43 percent, which is higher than the average for Bengaluru. The CEO said 44,857 voters were added this year, an increase of 10.3 percent against a state average of 6.04 percent.
While Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and JD(S) are blaming the Congress, Union ministers Ananth Kumar and Prakash Javadekar have demanded that elections be countermanded in Rajarajeshwarinagar. Kumar alleged that the cards were part of a “fake card generating factory” set up by MLA Muniratna, whom he described as “kasam kaas” (intimate) of chief minister Siddaramaiah.
“There is something very wrong. Three Election Commission observers are there and everything is happening under their supervision. Any type of irregularity, whomsoever has committed it, it will be addressed and dealt with. It will be assured that the election is free and fair,” he said.
On the other hand, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala claimed that the apartment that was rented to a person called Rakesh was the adopted son of Nanjamari and was a BJP candidate for the corporation elections in 2015, who lost to the Congress. Nanjamari is herself a former BJP corporator, he added.
“Money power, muscle power and conspiracy are the DNA of the BJP when they are staring defeat in the face. This is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black in a midnight drama. BJP workers raid the apartment belonging to BJP leaders. Who is committing corrupt practices in Karnataka’s elections today?” he asked and demanded action against the BJP by the EC.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and (state unit president) B S Yeddyurappa should answer why these EPIC cards were found in the apartment of a BJP leader,” Surjewala said.
According to the CEO’s official press release, the apartment was owned by a person named Manjula Nanjamari and was rented to a person named Rakesh. “We do not know if he is related in anyway to Muniratna,” he added.
The CEO said there were five laptops and a printer, two trunks containing about a lakh counterfoil slips that resemble acknowledgement slips of Form 6 used to add names on electoral rolls. The counterfoils reportedly have photographs and a printed number in magenta, which is not there on the official Form 6.“The EPIC cards appear to be of actual electors and prima facie genuine. The significance of the counterfoils can be verified only after due investigation,” the CEO added.
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