Mallikarjun Kharge gets clean chit in poll code violation case
KALABURAGI: Senior Congress leader and Kalaburagi candidate Mallikarjun Kharge is likely to get a clean chit in poll code violation complaint filed against him by the BJP. Footage of Kharge, casting his vote, accompanied by his wife, led to the complaint being filed as a violation of ‘secrecy of vote’ norms. However, Deputy Commissioner and Returning Officer (RO) for the constituency, R Venkateshkumar, has submitted a report recommending action against the booth officials while giving a clean chit to Kharge, sources said.
The polling staff will have to face the music as recommended by Venkateshkumar in his report to the Chief Election Commissioner. The RO had sought an explanation from five officials as well as the micro observer appointed by the Central Government at the booth. It is said that all six gave separate responses but agreed on the sequence of events.
In their response, the officials and the observer said that Kharge entered the polling area alone and cast his vote, however, photographers and cameramen insisted that he pose with his wife and enter the EVM area again to which he obliged.
While Kharge might escape the serious charge of violating the secrecy of vote section, this explanation will still result in a violation of the poll code as entering the voting area after exiting it once is also against the rules.
When The New Indian Express contacted Venkateshkumar, he confirmed that he had submitted a report to the CEC but declined to comment on the content of the report.
BJP leaders, led by party state unit general secretary N Ravikumar had lodged a complaint against Kharge with the Chief Election Commissioner on April 23, alleging that Kharge had violated the secrecy of vote section by taking his wife along with him while exercising his franchise.