BENGALURU: The Election Commission of India has deferred voting in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar assembly constituency to May 28 following the seizure of thousands of voter ID cards in a flat in Jalahalli falling under this constituency. The counting will be held on May 31.The EC took this decision after coming to a conclusion that although the probe into the scam is on, the illegal hoarding of 9,896 genuine voter ID cards, 6,342 voter application acknowledgement receipts with BBMP seal, and another 20,700 acknowledgement receipts without BBMP seals, was a deliberate attempt to make such a large number of voters captive to vote or not to vote in the election.
Congress sitting MLA Munirathna, who is contesting to retain his seat from this constituency, has been named as accused number 14 in this case in the FIR registered on Thursday.When asked whether Munirathna can continue to contest in the deferred polls on May 28, Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka, Sanjiv Kumar said, “That is not an aspect that is being looked into at this point of time.”
Considering it as ‘bribery’, which is also a corrupt practice, and to maintain the sanctity of elections, the EC has considered it imperative to defer the RR Nagar poll for the time being so that the vitiating effect of the distribution of money and gift items to the electors of the constituency loses its intensity.
“The deferment is also aimed at providing time to return the seized voter ID cards to the right voters so that confidence is infused among the voters, and a more congenial atmosphere conducive to the conduct of free and fair elections is created,” said Sanjiv Kumar, quoting the EC order.
“Accordingly, exercising powers under Article 324 of the Constitution and provisions of the Representation of the People Act, the RR Nagar poll shall be deferred,” he said.While reading the ECI’s order, Sanjiv Kumar said every voter had the freedom to cast his/her vote in a free and fair manner without facing any inducement. This case was a “glaring instance wherein this aspect was compromised to a large extent in a systematic manner beginning much before the poll date”.The process of inducement was a planned strategy, which had started much before the dates of notification, which is a serious cause for concern, the order said.
■ Electoral machinery will make a detailed list of voters whose EPIC cards have been collected illegally and ensure their distribution seven days before the poll date
■ Special confidence-building measures will be taken up to ensure that no intimidation takes place