Karnataka Assembly polls on May 12, Election Commission fumes over 'leak'

The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday announced the poll dates for the Karnataka Assembly elections, which sparked a war of words between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when their respective social media cells tweeted the poll dates before the EC announcement. The EC has set up a committee to probe the leak.


BJP social media chief Amit Malviya tweeted the poll date before the EC announcement. The BJP later told the EC that Malviya’s tweet was based on a media report and a Karnataka Congress office-bearer had also tweeted the dates.


Interestingly, Malviya and the Congress’ Karnataka social media cell in-charge Srivatsa tweeted at 11.08 am, while an English news channel and some Kannada channels ran the news at 11.06 am. The EC announced the dates a little later.


Malviya and Srivatsa were correct about the polling date, May 12, but were incorrect about the date for counting of votes. They had said it would be May 18, while the EC, a few minutes later, said it would be May 15. Srivatsa said his information was based on media reports.


Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat called the leak “very serious” and promised “stringent action”. The poll panel has set up a committee to probe the leak.


Karnataka will have a single-phase election. Polling for Karnataka’s 224 Assembly seats will take place on May 12. The counting of votes is scheduled for May 15. Of the 224 seats, 36 are reserved for Scheduled Castes and 15 for Scheduled Tribes.


The EC said the updated Karnataka electoral rolls had 49.68 million voters. Each of the 224 constituencies will have one polling booth managed by women. All 56,696 polling booths will have electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs) for greater transparency, the EC added.


In Parliament, neither House could transact any business because of continuous disruptions. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan did not take up the eight no-confidence motions moved by six political parties. She said the House was not in order.


In the Lok Sabha, the Congress, the Left and members of other opposition parties stood up to display blue placards, each with a circled number, from 1 to 80, along with the legend ‘For no-confidence’.


At least 50 members need to support a no-confidence notice for the House to accept it. When the lower House met at noon after the first adjournment, All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) members trooped into the well shouting slogans and demanding immediate constitution of the Cauvery River Management Board.


Congress MP KC Venugopal said the AIADMK was “match-fixing with the BJP” by not allowing the House to function and taking up the no-confidence motion. This enraged AIADMK members and they nearly came to blows with Congress MPs but Congress parliamentary party chief Sonia Gandhi intervened.


In the Rajya Sabha, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu indicated to members that he would be forced to take strict action against disruptors. “He conveyed his outrage over retiring members not being allowed the courtesy of farewell observations,” sources said.


However, chances of normal functioning of the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday have brightened with agitating parties agreeing to neither enter the Well nor carry placards, according to the sources.

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