Congress alleges Rs 16,000 crore BJP tenders in Karnataka polls; seeks EC action

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New Delhi: The Congress on Monday petitioned the Election Commission seeking its intervention on rejection of the party advertisements and issuance of tenders worth a staggering Rs 16,000 crore by the BJP government hours before the declaration of Karnataka Assembly elections.

The opposition party, which is seeking to wrest power from the BJP in the southern state, also demanded that certain officers in the poll panel who have completed more than six years, be transferred from Karnataka. The Congress also provided details of such officers.

The Congress sought action against the Punjab government over the transfer of various IPC, PCS and PPS officers to allegedly favour the ruling AAP, and displaying photographs of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Aam Aadmi’ clinics, which the opposition party said is a “direct violation of the model code of conduct” which is in force due to the bye-election in the Jalandhar parliamentary constituency.

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The party rued that five videos of the Congress seeking to create awareness among the voters in Karnataka on allegations raised against the BJP government in the state as well as the party’s design for guarantee cards being issued to voters have been rejected on the ground that these cards shall be used to collect personal information of voters.

Hitting out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress pointed out that in the past, the saffron party has run smear campaigns against the INC in the state of Karnataka without any restraint.

“Yet the Indian National Congress (INC) is not being allowed permission to run advertisements that are far tamer in comparison. It is our submission that the incorrect motive of collecting personal data of voters is made upon us.

“The decision to reject our advertisements is completely incorrect and requires urgent reconsideration,” it said.

“We urge the Commission to treat the matter with the urgency it deserves and to reconsider the decision given by the Karnataka State Media Certification Commission (KMCC),” the party said in its memorandum to the Election Commission (EC).

The Congress also alleged that various tenders were issued by the ruling BJP government in Karnataka, 48 hours before the declaration of the Model Code of Conduct in the state.

“These tenders worth a staggering Rs 16,000 crore (approximately) are, we submitted, a direct and blatant attempt to influence the outcome of the state election. As a result, we prayed before the EC that these be scrutinised, the offending individuals penalised and the same, at the very least, be injuncted until the conclusion of the election,” the party said.

“In the office of the CEO, there are people who have been serving for more than six years and still continue in their offices. This is a violation of the EC’s guidelines which state that officers are to be changed after every three years to prevent any appearance of bias. The Congress has submitted a list of all such officers and asked for the rule to be enforced,” the Congress leaders said.

The leaders who met the chief election commissioner and election commissioners include former Union minister Salman Khurshid, Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Pratap Bajwa, Rajya Sabha MP Nasser Hussain, AICC secretary Pranav Jha, and AICC Media Department secretary Vineet Punia.

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( With inputs from )

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