The Election Commission on Saturday issued a notice to the Congress’ Karnataka unit in connection with its “corruption rate card” advertisements that were published in newspapers.
The advertisements alleged that under the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in the state, there were fixed rates of bribes that people needed to pay for job appointments and transfers.
The poll panel issued the notice to the Congress in response to a complaint by the BJP. It said that prima facie, it appeared that the Congress had violated the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct.
“While the general references and allusions to the alleged lack of achievement, misdeeds, not ensuring corruption-free governance of political opponents, do float in political campaigns, specific accusations and charges need to be segregated as the same must be backed by verifiable facts,” it said in the notice to Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief DK Shivakumar.
“It is a fair assumption that INC possesses the material/empirical/verifiable evidence based on which these specific/explicit ‘facts’ have been published, an action which can fairly be assessed to embed knowledge, motive and intent to do so by the author,” the poll panel said.
The Election Commission told the Congress to show empirical evidence of the alleged corruption rates by 7 pm on Sunday. “Failing the above, you are directed to show reasons for why action shouldn’t be initiated against you for violating the MCC and relevant legal provisions under the [Representation of the People Act] and IPC,” it said.
The Karnataka Assembly election will be held on May 10, and the result will be declared on May 13.