The Election Commission on Friday postponed polling in Karnataka’s Rajarajeswari Assembly constituency to May 28 after nearly 10,000 voter identity cards were confiscated from a flat in Jalahalli locality of Bengaluru. Votes will be counted on May 31.
All other constituencies in Karnataka will vote on May 12, and the results declared on May 15.
On May 8, officers of the Election Commission raided an apartment in Jalahalli and seized 9,896 Electoral Photo Identification Cards. They also found more than one lakh counterfoils resembling acknowledgment slips of “Form 6”, which is used to include new names in electoral rolls.
Chief Electoral Officer Sanjeev Kumar said on Friday that apart from the voter identity cards, a huge cache of water cans, over 5,000 t-shirts, over 23,000 shorts, and pressure cookers meant to bribe the voters had been discovered, PTI reported.
Kumar said discovery of the voter IDs and other materials was a serious offence under various laws. “It appears that attempts were made to systematically influence voters,” Kumar added.
A truck was sent from Tirupur to Tumakuru district to transport the materials, but was unloaded at Bengaluru, the chief electoral officer said. Kumar said the firm Reliance Retails had come forward to claim the pants.
The confiscation of the voter IDs has triggered a bitter battle between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. While the BJP has accused the ruling Congress of electoral fraud, alleging that visiting cards and stickers of an incumbent Congress MLA were found in the apartment, the Congress accused the Opposition party of attempting to discredit it.
The Bengaluru Police have filed a first information report against 14 people, including Congress MLA N Munirathna. The FIR also names the apartment owner Manjula Nanjamuri, her tenant Rekha and 11 other people. The police have not yet arrested anyone in connection with the case.