BENGALURU, NEW DELHI: The sting operation in Karnataka that showed Rajya Sabha seats being traded for money has landed Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in trouble. The operation allegedly showed some MLAs putting a price on their votes. Some legislators also claimed that they were assured of a D100 crore constituency development grant by the chief minister if they voted for Congress candidate K C Ramamurthy.
Returning Officer for Rajya Sabha polls, S Murthy, has written to the chief minister’s office seeking an explanation on the claims made by the MLAs.
“I have written to the principal secretary to the CM. I have sought details and documents regarding the allegations,” Murthy said. “So far, I have not received a reply. I will send a reminder again on Tuesday if the CM’s office fails to reply,” he added.
The returning officer’s letter was based on a request from the Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka who received a complaint from the JD(S) on the cash-for-vote scam. Meanwhile, the Congress party urged the EC not to defer the polls. Elections to the Rajya Sabha seats in Karnataka are due on June 11. Five candidates are in the fray for the four seats from the State.
Meanwhile, sources in Delhi said that the Chief Election Commissioner has written a letter to the Union Law Ministry seeking an amendment to the Representation of People Act, which would allow it to countermand polls in case there is evidence on use of money power. As of now, the commission has powers under Constitution’s Article 324 to cancel or postpone polls if money power has been used to get votes. But the poll body is now appealing to the government to amend the Representation of the People Act to make the use of money power as a ground to cancel or countermand polls. Election Commissioners feel it would be better if the provision to cancel polls is incorporated in the law so that the commission does not have to resort to exercising its constitutional powers, said sources.
Congress urges CEC not to defer polls
A Congress delegation, led by party general secretary Digvijaya Singh, met CEC Nasim Zaidi and submitted a representation asking it not to postpone the June 11 Rajya Sabha elections in Karnataka. JD(S) leader HD Revanna had earlier urged the Election Commission to countermand the polls and demanded a CBI probe on the MLAs involved.