Even before the Election Commission announced dates of polling and results of the Karnataka Assembly elections 2018, BJP’s IT cell head Amit Malviya tweeted the date of polling and counting. He, however, ended up getting the date of results wrong. A section of the media, too, flashed the dates of counting and results before they were officially announced. When asked on Twitter how he had access to the dates before the EC annoucement, Malviya said a news channel flashed the dates and they were already public.
Journalists gathered at the Election Commission office in New Delhi, where the press conference was underway, raised the matter with Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat, questioning how a political party had access to what is to be highly confidential information.
“We will find out what happened and a full investigation will be launched. Let us not speculate on what they have,” Rawat said. At the end of the press conference, Rawat reiterated that the EC will not take the matter lightly. “Certain things may have leaked for which Election Commission will take appropriate action. It will be investigated. Be assured that actions legally and administratively befitting will be taken.” Malviya, having got the dates wrong, deleted his tweet.
Reacting to Malviya’s tweet, Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted: BJP becomes the ‘Super Election Commission’ as they announce poll dates for Karnataka even before the EC. Credibility of EC is on test. Will EC now issue notice to BJP President, Amit Shah & register an FIR against BJP IT Head for leaking EC’s confidential information?
This afternoon, however, Malviya wrote to the Election Commission clarifying that he tweeted the dates only after he saw a newsflash on a television news channel.
“It was brought to my attention that my tweet on the likely dates of Karnataka election put out in the morning of 27th March 2018 posted at 11.08 am has raished certain apprehensions. I wish to clairfy that the source of my information was based on a newsbreak put out by Times Now, a leading national TV channel at 11.06 am.
“I wish to reiterate that I firmly believe in the exclusive constitutional domain of the Election Commission to conduct free and fair elections in the country, and also in the confidentiality and secrecy mandate upon it in process of doing so,” Malivya said in his letter.
The Election Commission announced Karnataka will go to polls on May 12 and results will be declared on May 15.