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Published On: Tue, Mar 27th, 2018

EC sets up panel to probe Karnataka poll date leak

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imagesNEW DELHI : The Election Commission of India on Tuesday ordered a probe into the circumstances that led to dates for polling and result of the Karnataka Assembly elections. Controversy broke out after BJP IT cell Amit Malviya announced the dates for elections in Karnataka about 15 minutes before the EC announced it.

BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya, who found himself at the centre of a controversy, after outing Karnataka election dates even before the Election Commission’s announcement, has written to the poll panel to clarify his position, In his defence, Malviya claimed that the source of his information was a newsbreak put out by a leading news channel on TV.
This is the same defence he had earlier put out in a tweet. The Election Commission has been questioned as to how a political party had access to news before the official announcement and has promised strict action.
The Election Commission constituted a committee of senior officials to look into the alleged leak of the schedule of upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka even before it was announced by the poll watchdog.The committee has been asked to submit its report within a week. The committee has also been directed to suggest steps needed to prevent any such eventuality in future.
A party delegation led by Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi visited the Commission after Chief Election Commissioner O. P. Rawat termed the leak “very serious” and promised “stringent action.”
Mr. Naqvi later told reporters that Mr. Malviya should not have tweeted. He said Mr. Malviya’s tweet was based on a news channel report and he had no intention to undermine the ECI’s authority.

In a letter to the ECI, Mr. Malviya said an English news channel reported the poll date at 11.06 a.m. and he tweeted about it at 11.08 a.m.. He also stated that a Karnataka Congress functionary also tweeted about the poll dates exactly at the same time.

He also submitted screenshots of the news channel report, his tweet and the Congress leader’s tweet and their timings to make his case. Even as Mr. Rawat was in the midst of the news conference and had not announced the election schedule, both the BJP and Congress functionaries tweeted that the polls would be held on May 12 and the counting of votes would be on May 18. The counting date turned out to be wrong as the ECI announced that the votes will be counted on May 15.
The Congress latched onto the issue and dubbed the BJP “Super Election Commission”. It also demanded action against the BJP.”The Commission immediately directed that the matter be probed and necessary and effective action be taken. Accordingly, Commission has constituted a committee of senior officers of Election
Commission to investigate the matter and give its report within seven days,” a statement from the Election Commission said.The alleged leak of election dates had snowballed into a major political storm with political parties, including Congress and CPI, demanding strict action against those responsible for it.

Hitting out at the BJP, Congress dubbed the saffron party as “Super Election Commission”, taking strong objection to its IT cell chief tweeting the date of the Karnataka Assembly election before the Election Commission had announced it.

Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala also said the Election Commission’s credibility was at test and asked if there would be any action against the ruling party and its chief Amit Shah.”Will EC now issue a notice to BJP president, Amit Shah and register an FIR against BJP IT Head for leaking EC’s confidential information,” Surjewala asked on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the CPI also took strong exception to the BJP’s IT cell chief tweeting the date of the Karnataka Assembly elections saying the poll panel should answer how he got to know about it.”It is a huge embarrassment for the Election Commission. The EC should answer how he got to know about the date.Party National Secretary D Raja said.
“I hope that our democracy is not so weak, otherwise the BJP will start announcing the election results also,” he said.( With Agency Inputs ).

 

 

 

 

 

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