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Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Karnataka elections: BJP, Congress at loggerheads over ‘fake’ voter I-card row ahead of voting

Karnataka assembly elections: While the BJP demanded countermanding of the election claiming Congress was behind the racket, the grand old party dismissed the charge as a "lie".

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 9, 2018 8:52:12 pm
Karnataka elections: BJP, Congress spar over 'fake' voter I-card row ahead of counting The BJP tweeted this image of the purported fake voter IDs, recovered from Raja Rajeshwari Nagar constituency on Tuesday (Source: Twitter/@BJP4Karnataka)

With just three days left before Karnataka goes to poll, the BJP and the ruling Congress on Wednesday engaged in a war of words after nearly 10,000 “fake” voter ID cards were seized from a flat in Rajrajeshwari Assembly seat. While the BJP demanded countermanding of the election claiming Congress was behind the racket, the grand old party dismissed the charge as a “lie”.

Both parties claimed the flat belonged to a woman associated with the rival party. Union minister Prakash Javadekar, addressing a press conference, claimed Congress candidate and sitting MLA Munirathna Naidu was behind the alleged racket, which was exposed by BJP worker Rakesh.

Countering BJP’s claim, Congress spokesman Rajdeep Singh Surjawala alleged that the flat owner Manjula Nanjamari and Rakesh had BJP connections and both contested Bengaluru Municipal Corporation elections on the tickets of the saffron party.

Karnataka’s Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar said a Deputy Election Commissioner rank official has been sent from the national capital to Bengaluru for investigating the case. Prime facie, he said, the I-cards looked genuine and insisted that a thorough inquiry will bring out the truth.

Kumar said the visiting cards with photos of a candidate were also found strewn around the flat but added that “no conclusion can be drawn that the candidate had visited the place”.

“It was earlier suggested that somebody was trying to break into our (computer) system to prepare fake ID cards….that is not so,” he said, adding it was for the Election Commission to take a decision on countermanding the election.

PM Modi castigates Congress over ‘fake’ ID cards row

Campaigning in Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a blistering attack on the Congress over adopting such tactics to win the election. “Thousands of voter ID cards were seized, 1 lakh voters slips were seized in just one place. They must have planned such games in 40-50 constituencies. You (voters) be alert. Such sin cannot be allowed during the celebration of democracy (polls),” he told elections rallies.

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Thousands of fake cards with hologram, lamination machines, and computers were seized by police after BJP workers informed it about the racket, Javadekar said. “This is the philosophy of the Congress….if voters do not vote for you, create fake voters,” he said while claiming that a “fake voter ID printing factory” was being run in Manjula’s flat.

He also acknowledged that Manjula was once associated with the BJP but said she was now with the Congress and demanded her immediate arrest. Javadekar alleged she had campaigned for the sitting Congress MLA from the seat and its candidate for the current Assembly election Munirathna Naidu in the last polls.

Congress hits back, says BJP making allegations fearing ‘imminent defeat’

Hitting back at the BJP, the Congress claimed that the saffron party was making such allegations because it was aware of its imminent defeat. “They are making such allegations because of their imminent defeat, and after their workers and leaders were caught red-handed influencing voters in collating and collecting fake ID cards in order to influence the results of the elections,” Surjewala told reporters.

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Dismissing the allegations, Surjewala said the ID cards and equipment were not recovered from the flat by the police but BJP workers. The flat, he said, belonged to a BJP worker. “Prakash Javadekar had the audacity to lie, mislead the people of Karnataka by saying Manjula does not belong to the BJP. She is a former BJP corporator and Rakesh also contested corporation election on BJP ticket in 2015,” he said.

“Javadekar runs a factory of lies. Rakesh was a tenant of flat No. 115 and its is mentioned in the list of BJP candidates who contested the corporation elections. Manjula is a former BJP corporator from Jalahalli,” he said, citing newspaper reports.

Some TV news channels claimed Rakesh was Manjula’s son, while others said she was his adoptive mother. However, the woman at the centre of the controversy insisted they were relatives but had “no contact due to strain in family ties”. Speaking in Kannada, she said since she owned the land on which the apartment building stood, she had entered into a joint venture with a builder.

Manjula said she had rented or leased out the flats. The flat under question was given on rent to a woman named Rekha Ranjan and not Rakesh for office-cum-residence.

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Describing the entire episode as “stage-managed”, Deputy leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma claimed Manjula was associated with the BJP and her “son” Rakesh had contested the municipal corporation election on a BJP ticket. “The Election Commission must take action, and a police case be registered,” he told reporters in New Delhi, adding the BJP was up to such tactics as defeat was staring it in the face.

With PTI inputs

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First published on: 09-05-2018 at 08:49:54 pm

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