Bengaluru, Nov 28 : Karnataka legislative council member Prakash Rathod on Thursday alleged that the Election Commission of India (ECI) has been functioning partially in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai was not stopped by ECI surveillance officers at a check post in Mandya on November 22,” Congress MLC Prakash Rathod told IANS about the incident which occurred in Mandya.
Similarly, he cried foul of inaction by the ECI on a complaint against deputy chief minister Govind Karjol caught on camera distributing money to a voter.
He said member of parliament B. Y. Raghavendra, who is also the son of chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa, was stopped at a check post but his bag was not opened and checked.
“He stopped at the check post but his bag was not opened because it contained money. He was allowed to go,” said Rathod.
According to Rathod, the chief minister’s son persuaded Janata Dal(S) candidate to withdraw from the by-election in Hirekerur, promising huge sums of money.
Rathod highlighted that Yediyurappa visited Athani and requested the Lingayat community to vote for the BJP, resorting to election campaigning on religious and communal lines.
“The Election Commission has become a mute spectator. It is a puppet in the hands of the BJP,” said Rathod about the constitutional body alleging inaction on more than 10 complaints against BJP pertaining to violation of the model code of conduct, corrupt practice and bribery.
The Congress MLC also visited the Raj Bhavan on Thursday to lodge a complaint to Governor Vajubhai Vala about the partial nature of the ECI.
“The Governor is not there, he is recovering from a bypass surgery. We have informed the Governor’s office that the Election Commission is behaving partially,” said Rathod.
Asking votes in the name of a community is an offence punishable with imprisonment, Rathod said referring to Yediyurappa.
However, he condemned the quick action and arrests of opposition party members from the Congress and the JD(S) on complaints by the ruling party.
“I think all these things are being done on the directions of BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” added Rathod.
The bypolls will be held in Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapura, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijaynagara, Chickballapura, K. R. Pura, Yeshwanthpura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagara, Hosakote, K. R. Pete and Hunsur.
In all, 165 candidates, including 126 Independents and 9 women are in the fray for the 15 Assembly bypolls. The counting will be held on December 9.