Cross-voting: Committee blames senior Cong leaders

The fact-finding committee of the Congress has found fault with senior party leaders G Parameshwara, Siddaramaiah and Madhusudan Mistry for the defeat of the MLC candidate, Iqbal Ahmed Saradagi.

The committee, in its report submitted to the KPCC president on Wednesday, recommended that the party should take measures to identify those who indulged in cross-voting.

However, it has failed to mention any names in the 24-page report, though there is a “needle of suspicion on some MLAs”.

“Merely by suspicion or hearsay evidence it is difficult to pinpoint the MLAs who have defied the whip, since it is a secret ballot,” the report stated.

However, based on circumstantial evidence recorded by the committee and the previous conduct of the legislators, it suspects some legislators. The committee will bring these facts to the notice of AICC president Sonia Gandhi in confidentiality.

The five-member committee headed by V R Sudarshan has also recommended that the party should ask the 19 MLAs whose votes were allotted to Saradagi to approach court of law to file an election petition. The committee said the truth would come out only after a court directs the returning officer to open the ballot box to ascertain who the MLAs voted for.

However, legal experts say that there is no provision to do so in secret ballot method.

The committee has indicated that lack of co-ordination between Parameshwara and Siddaramaiah led to the defeat. “Lack of better co-ordination between KPCC and CLP, vitiated the entire atmosphere. The entire election process was treated in a casual manner by those at the helm of affairs.”

Pursuant to the debacle in the election, the KPCC president, CLP, chief whip of both the Houses and candidates and AICC general secretary and secretaries should have convened a meeting to take stock of the situation immediately, it stated.

It also notes that AICC Karnataka in-charge Madhusudan Mistry had an important role to play in these elections, but he failed. Mistry should have camped in Bangalore on the previous day of the election, it noted.

It highlighted that Parameshwara failed to brief the high command properly about finalising the candidates and that Siddaramaiah was left in the dark during the selection procedure, while his resignation to the post of CLP leader led to more confusion among the MLAs.

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