The Election Commission is meeting in the national capital to take a call on a sting operation carried out in Karnataka, which purportedly shows legislators in the state being offered cash for supporting nominees of certain parties contesting the June 11 Rajya Sabha elections.
This is for the first time that the EC will have to taka call on cash-for-votes before the conduct of a biennial election.
Aired by a television channel late on Thursday evening, the sting operation shows politicians discussing cash incentives for voting in favour of particular candidates for elections to the Upper House.
A senior EC official told Hindustan Times that the Commission has been apprised of the tapes, which has among other politicians former prime minister and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda, his younger son.
“A meeting in underway and the Commission will examine the evidence, in consultation with its legal team before announcing its decision,” the official said.
In 2012, the Election Commission had countermanded the Rajya Sabha elections in Jharkhand after Rs Two crore, in cash, was seized from the car of a businessman whose relative was contesting elections from the state.
Former CEC SY Qureshi who was in charge when the election was countermanded in Jharkhand said there might be a technicality in the present case that no cash was paid, but the EC will take a considered view. “The people in question might say they were only discussing, and no cash was paid. But the EC is equipped to take a call in such situations,” he said.
In the fray for a Rajya Sabha berth from Karnataka are B M Farooq of the JD(S) and K C Ramamurthy, former ministers Oscar Fernandes and Jairam Ramesh from the Congress. BJP has nominated union minister Nirmala Sitharaman from the state.
Earlier, the EC deferred voting in two assembly constituencies of Tamil Nadu after it found evidence of money and incentives being used to influence voters. Fresh dates for elections in the two constituencies of Thanjavur and Aravakurichi are yet to be declared.