Around 10,000 voter IDs and one lakh counterfoils found in a flat, owned by a Manjula Nanjamuri, in Bengaluru kicked off midnight blame game between BJP and Congress in poll-bound Karnataka as both parties alleged that the other has tried to rig the elections.
The political slugfest started after the Election Commission received a complaint about fake voter IDs in a flat in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar segment of the Bengaluru's southwest suburb.
After a surprise visit to the flat, the election body found nearly 9,746 voter ID, Five laptops and one printer along with over lakh slips resembling acknowledgement slips used for adding names into the electoral rolls, the state's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sanjiv Kumar told media in a late night presser.
On preliminary verification, the voter cards were found to be genuine, while the counterfoils were to be verified through investigation, Kumar said. "Further investigation will be conducted into the matter and will be closely monitored by the EC," he said.
The election commission has filed an FIR in the matter.
Who is Manjula Nanjamuri?
The spokesman of the Congress party Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that the flat where the voter IDs were found belonged to a BJP leader - Manjula Nanjamuri.
"BJP enacted this drama in an apartment belonging to their own leader Manjula Nanjamari. She has rented the apartment to her son who contested the 2015 BBMP (Bengaluru civic body) elections on a BJP ticket. Apartment was raided not by police or EC but by BJP workers," Surjewala alleged at a press conference on the early hours of Wednesday.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) denied any recent connection with Nanjamuri and urged the poll panel to countermand the May 12 Assembly poll in the constituency, terming it a conspiracy by the ruling Congress to rig the election.
"Manjula Nanjamuri has nothing to do with BJP. She left BJP six years ago. Manjula is a Congress person now. They just want to blame BJP without any substance. We have proof of various things, which we will present before the EC," Union Human Resource Development Minister and the party's in-charge for state polls Prakash Javadekar said.
"The BJP demands countermanding of elections in Rajarajeshwari Nagar in light of latest revelations of tens of thousands of fake voter IDs and empty packets of hard currency. This is Congress conspiracy to rig election in the face of their imminent defeat," tweeted Javadekar.
However, a few hours later, Congress produced 'proof' that Manjula Nanjamuri was in fact associated with BJP.
"These are news reports (in pic) pointing out prominent losers of the corporation polls and it mentions BJP's Manjula Nanjamuri, sitting corporator of HMT ward, who contested from Jalahalli where flat no. 115 is situated. BJP leadership said M Nanjamuri's son Rakesh, who EC says was a tenant of flat no. 115 where all these cards were found, also didn't belong to BJP. I have the list of BJP corporation candidates 2015 & at no.16, you find Rakesh to be BJP candidate from Jalahalli constituency," Surjewala told media this morning.
These are news reports (in pic) pointing out prominent losers of the corporation polls & it mentions BJP's Manjula Nanjamuri, sitting corporator of HMT ward, who contested from Jalahalli where flat no. 115 is situated: Congress on 9,746 voter ID cards found in a flat in Bengaluru pic.twitter.com/LKqfUYkz51— ANI (@ANI) May 9, 2018
Meanwhile, Janata Dal (Secular) has demanded that the EC must not compromise on free and fair elections in the state. "We appeal to EC that there should be no compromise with free and fair elections. It is a serious matter. All unethical means are being adopted by both national parties (Congress and BJP)," Danish Ali, JD(S) told media this morning.
Watch video: Around 10,000 voter ID cards seized from an apartment in Bengaluru