Bengaluru Voter Card Shocker: What We Know & What We Don’t 

Who collected nearly 10,000 voter ID cards in Bengaluru and why? Here’s what we know and what we don’t.

3 min read
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In a shocking midnight press conference on 8 May, the Election Commission announced that it had recovered nearly 10,000 voter ID cards from an apartment in Bengaluru’s Jalahalli area.

The EC’s startling revelation just 4 days ahead of Assembly election in Karnataka sent tremors across the political aisle with the BJP and the Congress accusing each other of having collected these crucial identity cards for influencing voters.

The BJP and the Congress both claim it was them who tipped off the Election Commission about the hoarding of voter ID cards, but the poll watch-dog hasn’t yet confirmed how they got to know of the cache of cards.

Here’s what we know and what we do not know about the entire controversy.


Who Did It?

What we know is that the Congress’ Rajarajeshwari Nagar Candidate M Munirathna Naidu has been booked in the case. According to IANS, Naidu’s name was mentioned in an FIR that was registered following a complaint made in connection with the shocking recovery.

Naidu was booked on charges of bribery and for trying to wield undue influence in the electoral process.

What we don’t know yet is whether he will be disqualified from the election which is to be held tomorrow. If the EC does not announce a decision by this evening, his name will continue to be on the EVMs. But action can be taken against him even after the election results are known. So, if M Munirathna Naidu wins from Rajarajeshwari Nagar Candidate and is later found guilty, he could lose his seat.

In a separate case, three other Congressmen, including Yeshwanthapura Corporator GK Venkatesh, have been arrested in connection with a fight that broke out when the BJP and the JD(S) jointly raided the apartment under scanner.

What we do not know is whether the trio are directly involved in hoarding voter ID cards that were recovered.


Who Owns the Apartment Under Scanner?

What we know is that the apartment is owned by a woman named Manjula Najamari and her son Sridar. Manjula Najamari confirmed to NDTV that she was a BJP corporator, and while she’s no longer in active politics, continues to support the party.

We also know that at the time of the raid, neither Manjula Najamari nor her son Sridar were occupying the apartment. It was rented out to a man named Rakesh.

What we do not know is whether this Rakesh had any political affiliations. The Congress claims he is a BJP man who even contested the 2015 city council elections. The party claims Rakesh is absconding as per the BJP’s conspiracy.

The BJP, on the other hand, claims Rakesh is a close aide of M Munirathna Naidu, the the Congress candidate who’s been booked in the case.


Were the Voter ID Cards Fake or Genuine?

We know that the Election Commission has declared that ‘prima facie’, the seized voter id cards appear genuine. This was conveyed by the Karnataka’s Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar after confirming that the Election Commission’s database and website had not been hacked into, to create fake ID cards and related documents.

What we don’t know is whether other documents, such as voter acknowledgement forms, are genuine.

To What End Were these Voter ID Cards Collected?

What we know through the Election Commission is that voter ID cards were seemingly collected from slum areas after thorough research of voters who were less likely to vote for the accused and being “vulnerable”, and could be influenced. This mapping, an EC official told NDTV, is large and needs to be investigated.

What we do not know is how those targeted were convinced to give up their voter ID cards. We also do not know whether those who collected these ID cards urged voters to abstain or had planned to use these cards to cast false votes.

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Topics:  BJP   Congress   Voter IDs 

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