Election Commission officials search special planes of Rahul Gandhi, Shah

Congress President Rahul Gandhi

The special aircrafts of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and BJP national chief Amit Shah were on Tuesday searched by officials after they landed at Hubballi airport in north Karnataka to campaign for their parties in the run-up to the May 12 assembly polls.

The exercise involving three district-level officers was described by officials as being in line with the Election Commission's directive to ensure free and fair elections in Karnataka.

"It was a random search by a team led by (election) nodal officer Karpale. We searched the planes in which Rahul Gandhi and Amit Shah had arrived. It was not intentional," Deputy Commissioner of Dharwad district S B Bommanahalli told PTI.

Shah and Gandhi arrived by separate planes at Hubballi airport from New Delhi.

Soon after their arrival, a team led by election nodal officer Karpale and Hire Gowda and Yogananda searched the planes to check for possible poll code violations.

"We did not find anything in the luggage. There were two other people with Shah. We did not check their names," Gowda told reporters after completing the search operation.

Gandhi, on the fifth leg of Karnataka tour, left for Shivamogga and addressed public meetings there and in Davangere.

Shah, also on the fifth lap of Karnataka tour, addressed an Other Backward Classes convention at Kaginele in Haveri district and had an interaction with the seers of Veerashaiva community at Shivayogi Mandir in Badami taluk of Bagalkote district.

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