Countermand RR Nagar poll, demand BJP, JD(S)

Countermand RR Nagar poll, demand BJP, JD(S)

The BJP and the Janata Dal(S) have demanded countermanding of election in the Rajarajeshwarinagar constituency of Bengaluru following the seizure of original voter ID cards from an apartment in the locality on Tuesday morning.

Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar, at a specially convened press meet around 11.30 pm on Tuesday, said 9,746 voter IDs were found at a flat at the SLV Park View apartment and owned by one Manjula Nanjamuri that was rented out to one Rakesh.

The CEO, who visited the flat, also found five laptops and one printer. There were two large steel trunks with about one lakh counterfoil strips resembling acknowledgement slips used for addition of new names on to the electoral rolls.

Referring to the demand for countermanding of polls, Kumar said the decision will have to be taken by the Election Commission and added that a move on this would be known in the next 24 hours.

Among the contestants from the seat are: Muniratna of the Congress, P M Muniraju of BJP and G H Ramachandra of JD(S).

The BJP first made a complaint to the Election Commission as a team of party workers found the ID cards at the apartment in the Jalahalli ward of the Rajarajeshwarinagar constituency. The BJP workers found this when they searched the Park View flat.

JD(S) national president H D Deve Gowda visited the area and urged the Election Commission to intervene in the matter.

Gowda, who paid a visit to R R Nagar at around 9 pm, is said to have later made calls to Election Commissioner of India O P Rawat, CEO Sanjiv Kumar and Bengaluru Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar, and sought to know what action has been taken.

Joining the issue, BJP leaders Ananth Kumar and Prakash Javadekar too demanded that the ECI countermand the elections in the segment. They duo convened a press conference at party chief Amit Shah’s temporary residence in the city.

“In light of revelation of tens of thousands of fake voter ID cards and empty packets of hard currency, the BJP demands countermanding of the elections. This is a Congress’s conspiracy to rig the elections, in face of their imminent defeat,” they said.

Sanjiv Kumar said, "this is certainly a serious matter. More than a lakh counter fouls found in this apartment. We ensure that free and fair poll will be conducted.’’

Ananth Kumar also said that illegalities were found in Chamundeshwari and Badami constituencies where Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is contesting. "By deciding to contest from Badami, Siddaramaiah has already admitted defeat in Chamundeshwari. He is doing everything in his capacity to rig the elections. The BJP has demanded that the Election Commission deploy paramilitary forces in every booth in Chamundeshwari," he said, adding that wads of cash, in addition to a diary was seized in Badami.

Kumar also demanded that Munirathna be arrested immediately. "Munirathna has set up a factory to print fake voter ID cards. He is a close aide of Siddaramaiah. He should be arrested immediately. His candidature should also be cancelled," he added.

Terming it a "classic case of a pot calling the kettle black in a midnight drama", the Congress turned tables by pointing fingers at the BJP.

Addressing the media at 12.30 am, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala charged that the BJP leaders were "actors, directors and perpetrators", of the entire episode. He said that the party, fearing defeat, was trying to divert the attention of the Karnataka voters. He said that top BJP leaders were involved in this "conspiracy".

Questioning who the 9,476 cards belonged to, Surjewala demanded a high-level enquiry against the top BJP leadership, including Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, BS Yeddyurappa and Prakash Javadekar.

He said that the apartment belonged to a BJP leader and ex-corporator Manjula Najamari. She had rented it to her adopted son, who had contested the BBMP elections in 2015 and lost, he added.

"BJP has lost the elections. Hence it is indulging in this blame game. It's attempt influence the election is an insult to the wisdom of the Karnataka electorate. It is reprehensible. The ECI should not jump to any conclusions. Instead, it should lodge an FIR against those who held a press conference at the same time the CEO was holding a presser, aside from the people who own the apartment," he added