EC to take ‘strict action’ against Karnataka election date leak

BJP’s IT cell head Amit Malviya and Congress’ Karnataka social media in-charge Srivats both tweeted the dates for voting and counting before the Election Commission’s announcement.
BJP’s IT cell chief Amit Malviya(Twitter)
BJP’s IT cell chief Amit Malviya(Twitter)
Updated on Mar 27, 2018 04:59 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

Chief election commissioner OP Rawat said on Tuesday the poll panel would investigate how the dates for Karnataka election were leaked before the official announcement of the election schedule.

Barely had the election commissioners sat down for a press conference to make the announcement, BJP’s IT cell chief Amit Malviya and Congress’ Karnataka social media in-charge Srivats tweeted that the state would vote on May 12 and the counting done on May 18.

“Certain things may have leaked for which the election commission will take strictest possible action,” Rawat said to media queries on how did the poll dates get out.

An official aware of the developments said, the EC is likely to hand over the probe to the IB and CBI. The poll panel will need the home ministry to escalate this request to the federal investigative agency.

Malviya’s tweet, which has since been deleted, got the voting date right but the counting day wrong. The results will be announced on May 15.

“It will be investigated. Be assured that actions, legally and administratively befitting, will be taken,” Rawat said.

But it wasn’t just Malviya. Congress’ Karnataka social media in-charge, Srivats, too tweeted the day of voting and counting before the EC’s announcement.

Soon after, though, he also tweeted a clarification.

“For those asking me about my tweet on the poll dates, wasn’t listening to the EC presser, saw local and national media flashing the dates and thought that it has been announced. Simple as that,” wrote Srivats.

But the Congress was quick to attack the BJP.

The BJP had become the super election commission as it announced poll dates for Karnataka even before the EC, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted.

“Credibility of EC is on test. Will EC now issue notice to BJP President, Amit Shah & register an FIR against BJP IT Head for leaking EC’s confidential information?” he said.

In a blow to the poll panel, the Delhi high court last week reinstated 20 MLAs of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party who were disqualified by the poll panel for holding office of profit.

The court said the disqualification was in violation of the “principle of natural justice” and asked the EC to hold a fresh hearing and also to determine the meaning of the expression of office of profit.

Also read | Karnataka assembly election dates announced: Do or die for Congress, southern test for BJP

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