Bengaluru: Voting in Bengaluru's Rajarajeshwari Nagar (RR Nagar) constituency where nearly 10,000 voter ID cards were found in an apartment this week has been deferred to May 28, the Election Commission decided on the eve of Karnataka Assembly elections. Counting of votes in this seat will take place on May 31.
The Election Commission order said the seizure of nearly 10,000 cards and a truck-load of campaign material in the constituency had suggested there was "planned design to induce the voters, thus attempt to vitiate the poll process".
It is imperative to defer the election for the time being so that the "vitiating effect of the distribution of money and gift items to the electors loses its intensity" and the ID cards were returned to the voters, the poll body said in its order to defer the elections from this seat by 16 days.
The BJP, which had claimed to have discovered the ID cards, called the commission's order a "victory of democracy". It said the police case filed against the Congress candidate and sitting legislator Munirathna, who it described as the Congress's moneybag, would land the state's ruling party "in a soup".
Victory for Democracy! EC orders countermanding of RR Nagar polls after court ordered FIR against Congress candidate Muniratna Naidu for creating more than 10k fake voter ids. With Siddaramaiah's money bag, Muniratna in the dock, Congress is in a big soup in Karnataka.— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) May 11, 2018
The Congress had earlier responded to attempts to link the election ID cards to its candidate as a conspiracy, accusing the BJP of enacting the "drama" of raiding an apartment owned by a local BJP leader and planting "fake evidence".
But a police probe, conducted under the supervision of the Election Commission, appeared to point fingers at the Congress.
Deputy Election Commissioner Chandrabhushan Kumar, who was rushed to Bengaluru to inquire into the allegations, told the Election Commission that the local police had recorded statements of 8 of the 9,564 individuals whose identity cards were found in the Bengaluru flat.
They told the police that their cards were taken away a month back in exchange for water cans. They were also promised cookers once the polling were over.
"Water cans were seized from those houses. Seized water cans bear the photo and texts of the INC, or Indian National Congress candidate from the Rajarajeswari Nagar seat," the Election Commission said....