Congress, JD(S) leaders spar during polling

Congress, JD(S) leaders spar during polling

JD(S) plaint to election panel delays counting process

 Voting for the four Rajya Sabha seats held at the Vidhana Soudha on Saturday witnessed high drama as JD(S) and Congress leaders indulged in a heated argument on ‘technical grounds’ inside the polling booth.

The clash among leaders of the two parties even led to the delay in the commencement of counting process in the evening. The JD(S) had lodged four separate complaints with the Returning Officer (RO), charging that the Congress was indulging in malpractices and demanded that the elections be countermanded.

Soon after the polling process was completed, the RO forwarded the complaints to the Election Commission of India (ECI), Delhi, seeking its directions. The ECI set aside the JD(S) complaints and allowed the RO to start the counting of votes. Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha was present at the polling station.

Earlier, JD(S) leader H D Revanna and Energy Minister D K Shivakumar (Congress) had a heated exchange inside the polling booth. Revanna took exception to Shivakumar’s entering the polling booth along with Independent MLAs and asked him to immediately leave the place. The minister shot back saying that he has no authority to direct him. The JD(S) leader took the election authorities to task and demanded a CBI probe.

Further, the JD(S) charged that the ruling party made way for a “third party” to vote on behalf of its MLAs Y N Rudresh Gowda and D Ramakrishna, citing serious health reasons. In their complaints to the RO, the JD(S) leaders also complained that Shivakumar had brought in eight JD(S) MLAs and ensured that they cast their votes in favour of a Congress candidate. Besides, Revanna took serious objection when the Congress MLC Govindaraju tried to cast vote on behalf of indisposed party MLA Ramakrishna. When the Congress furnished medical certificate, the RO allowed voting. Similarly, MLC N S Bhoseraju voted on behalf of Rudresh Gowda, according to Assistant RO Kumaraswamy.

Party’s contention

Minister A Manju constantly interfered with the election process
Congress made ‘third parties’ to vote on behalf of two ‘indisposed’ MLAs
Minister D K Shivakumar orchestrated cross-voting by JD(S) MLAs

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