BENGALURU:With BJP and JD(S) petitioning the Election Commission of India on Tuesday night to countermand the election in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar constituency following the seizure of a huge number of voter ID cards and numbered counterfoils from an apartment in Jalahalli, Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar, while promising firm action, said, “We cannot yet decide whether to countermand the polls in Rajarajeshwari Nagar. We’ll know that only after the probe is completed.” He added that the house belongs to a woman named Manjula Nanjamuri, who had rented it out.
The voter ID cards were among thousands more allegedly burnt by supporters of local Congress MLA Munirathna under which this area falls, when BJP and JD(S) workers descended on the place — #115, SLV Parkview Apartments in Sharadambha Nagar, Jalahalli. Each bundle of voter ID cards was attached with a card bearing Munirathna’s photo. The counterfoil strips were with serial numbers, considered “very serious”. Each bundle bore a name and a mobile number, which is to be investigated.Sanjiv Kumar confirmed that BJP and JD(S) had demanded countermanding of polls.
In fact, Union Human Resources Development minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted, “BJP demands countermanding of elections in AC (assembly constituency) 154 Rajarajeshwarinagar in light of latest revelations of tens of thousands of fake voter ID and empty packets of hard currency. This is Congress conspiracy to rig election, in face of their imminent defeat.”
The seizure followed much tension after BJP and JD(S) workers accused MLA Munirathna of creating mass fake voter ID cards. High drama prevailed at Sharadambha Nagar in Jalahalli when BJP and JD(S) workers raided the flat to unearth the alleged scam. It is alleged that the local police initially did not register any complaint in connection with the incident, when informed.
On Tuesday morning, workers of both BJP and the JD(S) received information that fake ID cards were being created and that Congress workers had paid voters and got their original voter ID cards. Based on this information, the workers raided the flat in SLV Parkview Apartment in Sharadambha Nagar around noon. The flat allegedly belongs to the daughter of a local Congress women’s wing leader.
They alleged that despite informing the police about the incident after finding more than 15,000 fake and original voter ID cards, around 500 goons, alleged to be supporters of Munirathna, threatened them and took away more than 10,000 voter IDs, which were allegedly burnt to destroy evidence. Oolice rushed to the spot, but were allegedly not ready to take a complaint, which led to a protest by BJP and JD(S) workers. Late in the night, Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka Sanjiv Kumar, Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar and other senior officers rushed to the spot. A case was registered in Jalahalli police station in this regard and BJP has also filed a compliant with the Election Commission.
Sanjiv Kumar told reporters that more than 9,000 IDs were found in two trunks in the flat, which have been seized. “We will conduct a probe into the matter and take action based on the findings.”
BJP leader and Union minister D V Sadananda Gowda rushed to the spot and expressed shock over the alleged malpractice. “I have never seen such irregularities in my career.
The Election Commission should take the issue seriously. How can more than 20,000 voter ID cards be found in private place? Five laptops, printers, thousands of Form 6 acknowledgements were found. Congress candidate Munirathna cannot run democracy at his will,” he alleged.