The Madras High Court on Friday, 26 March, asked the Election Commission if the Puducherry Assembly polls, which are scheduled for 6 April, can be deferred, owing to the allegations that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has unjustly accessed and misused voters’ Aadhaar details and used their phone numbers to benefit their campaign.
The court asked, “Why can’t the Puducherry polls be deferred?” as it directed the EC to probe the matter and file a full report by 30 March, NDTV reported.
The plea, filed by the President of the Puducherry State Committee of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, A Anand, alleged that that party gained unauthorised access to Aadhaar-linked mobile phone numbers of voters sent them messages and group invites via WhatsApp. This was done to boost their election campaign.
The BJP reportedly said that it will reply in court through its legal team.
Earlier this week, the court had referred to this as “a matter of serious concern”, and asked the poll body to not “pass the buck”.
The two-member bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy had said, “It will not do for the Election Commission to pass the buck in this case and say that the cybercrime division is conducting an investigation. When the EC is up and about in all other matters and asserts its primacy and authority, it has to look into this allegation immediately and with the degree of seriousness that it deserves,” NDTV quoted.
BJP announced its manifesto earlier on Friday, promising 2.5 lakh new jobs, financial aid for fishermen (Rs 6,000 per annum) and free transport for girls pursuing higher education. It also promised additional financial relief of Rs 2,000 to farmers under the PM KISAN scheme and a water security plan.
(With inputs from NDTV)