Former Chief Minister and BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa on Monday alleged grave irregularities in the Karnataka Assembly Elections. He also alleged that concerns officials failed to act despite complaints from his party.
In a letter addressed to the Chief Election Commissioner, Yeddyurappa wrote, "this is not the first time that irregularities in the conduct of elections were brought to the notice of the Election Commission (EC) and officials holding elections at ground level. Prior to polling, we brought many such irregularities to notice of concerned officials, but in vain."
Yeddyurappa's statement comes after eight boxes used for carrying Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines were found at a temporary shed in Managuli village near Vijaypura district.
"I am of firm belief that Election Commission has taken a serious note of VVPAT machines found abandoned in a shed near Managuli village in Vijayapur district. It indicates grave irregularities in conduct of assembly polls in Karnataka," the BJP leader added.
I am of firm belief that Election Commission has taken a serious note of— ANI (@ANI) May 22, 2018
VVPAT machines found abandoned in a shed near Managuli village in Vijayapur district. It indicates grave irregularities in conduct of assembly polls in Karnataka: BS Yeddyurappa in letter to CEC (file pic) pic.twitter.com/wf5V1WhnXu
Yeddyurappa also alleged that in many assembly segments of Bidar and Kalaburagi districts police officials themselves helped rival candidates to distribute money and liquor among the voters.
"This incident has exposed the hollowness of the claim of the election commission that assembly elections in Karnataka were held in a free and free manner," Yeddyurappa said.
Meanwhile, the state chief electoral officer (CEO) Sanjiv Kumar said that the boxes used for carrying VVPAT machines, found in Managuli village, do not belong to the district or to Election Commission.
"The boxes are without machine and paper and without unique electronic tracking number.The Election Commission will initiate strict action against those who are trying to create confusion".
Earlier on Monday, the Deputy Commissioner of the district and the Superintendent of Police conducted on the spot inspection today following reports that empty boxes of VVPAT machines were spotted in the shed.
"These boxes do not belong to Vijayapura district and 2744 VVPATs allotted to the district are safely kept in the strong room," Kumar said.
An FIR has been registered at Managuli police station and investigation into the matter is on, the CEO said.
Polling for the Karnataka Assembly was held in 222 constituencies of the 224 -member Assembly on May 12. The Election Commission had postponed elections to the Rajrajeshwari Nagar assembly seat in Karnataka in wake of the seizure of nearly 10,000 voter identity cards, while polling was countermanded in Jayanagara following the death of BJP candidate and sitting MLA B N Vijaykumar.
In a high voltage drama that followed the declaration of results on May 15, BS Yeddyurappa who was sworn in as the chief minister of the state on May 17 resigned on May 19 moments before the floor test in the State Assembly. BJP, even though emerging as the single largest party, fell short of eight seats to form clear majority in the assembly. Yeddyurappa's resignation has in turn, paved the way for the alliance of Congress and Janata Dal Secular to form government in the state. JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy will take oath as the new chief minister of the state on May 23.