The Bharatiya Janata Party’s information technology cell chief Amit Malviya on Tuesday tweeted the dates of the Karnataka Assembly elections before they were officially announced. He later deleted the tweet and claimed that he had posted what a news channel was reporting. A section of the media had also flashed the dates before they were announced by the Election Commission.
Later on Tuesday, Malviya wrote to the poll body claiming that he had tweeted the election dates only after a Times Now report on the same. Malviya said he had attached screenshots of Times Now’s news break along with time stamps.
The BJP IT cell chief also claimed that the Congress’ chief of social media for Karnataka, Srivatsa B, “also used the same source to get the same information exactly when I did”. Malviya added that his tweet was “in no way intended to infringe upon the Constitutional mandate of the Election Commission”.
When asked about the leaks, Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat told reporters at a press conference in New Delhi, “Be assured that actions legally and administratively befitting will be taken.”
The Election Commission on Tuesday announced that the Assembly elections in Karnataka will be held on May 12. The results will be declared on May 15. The term of the current Assembly, which has 224 seats, ends on May 28. The last date for filing nominations is April 24.
Malviya and some sections of the media got the polling date correct, but got the date of the results wrong.
Opposition leaders questioned how the BJP leader knew about the election dates. “The credibility of the Election Commission of India as an institution and the sanctity of India’s democratic processes is at stake,” tweeted Sitaram Yechury, the general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). “Nothing less than exemplary punishment for the BJP would help restore public faith.”
Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the BJP had become the “super election commission” and said this was a test of the poll panel’s credibility.