The Election Commission of Karnataka has recovered 9,746 Electors Photo Identity Cards from an apartment in the Raja Rajeshwari Nagar constituency in Bengaluru’s Jalahalli area.
At a midnight briefing on Tuesday, Karnataka’s Chief Electoral Officer Sanjeev Kumar said the panel has filed a first information report and will further investigate the matter. “The situation is being closely monitored by the Election Commission and appropriate action will be taken,” Kumar was quoted as saying by ANI.
Elections to the 224-member Karnataka Assembly will take place on May 12, and the results will be announced on May 15.
“The flat [Flat No. 115, SLV Parkview Apartment, Jalahalli] belongs to one Manjula Nanjamuri and was rented out to one Sri Rakesh. EPIC cards were kept neatly in small bundles wrapped in paper with some names and phones on paper,” Kumar said, according to The News Minute. “It is alleged that some more cards were there which are allegedly taken away by some of the occupants.”
“On preliminary verification, these 9,476 EPIC cards are of actual electors and appears to be prima facie genuine,” Kumar added. “However the significance of the counterfoils can only be verified after due investigation.”
The commission also seized five laptops, one printer and two large steel trunks with counterfoil strips similar to the acknowledgment slips of form 6, which is used to add names to the electoral rolls. “These may be numbering around a lakh. There is a need for further verification and inquiry,” Kumar said. “These have photographs and a printed number in magenta colour which is different than the officially available Form 6, which has no printed number.”
With the commission seizing the voter cards just three days before the state is set to go to the polls, all the major political parties accused each other of fraud.
The Bharatiya Janata Party claimed Manjula Nanjamuri left their party six years ago and is now affiliated with the Congress, ANI reported. “Congress is losing public support and they are trying hard to rig the upcoming elections in Karnataka by undemocratic ways,” Union minister Prakash Javadekar said. “So, we demand countermanding of polls in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar constituency.”
The Congress, meanwhile, claimed Nanjamuri is a BJP leader and a former corporator. Her son contested local elections on a BJP ticket in 2015, said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. “BJP is seeking attention by levelling allegations,” he said. “BJP is doing midnight drama as if Congress has something to do in the recovery of these 9746 Voter ID cards.”
The Janata Dal (Secular) blamed both the national parties of adopting unethical means and urged the election commission to ensure the elections were free and fair.