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Congress wants CM Bommai to resign, alleges fraud in revision of electoral roll

Demands judicial inquiry by the Chief Justice of Karnataka


The Karnataka Congress has demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and his arrest over an alleged election fraud related to revision of the electoral rolls in Bengaluru.

The Congress party has charged that the chief minister (also the Bengaluru incharge minister) and the BBMP commissioner Tushar Girinath and IT-BT minister and Mallaeshwaram MLA Dr Ashwathnarayana were guilty of a criminal conspiracy to fraudulently alter the electoral roll (voterlist) and breach of privacy (of citizens) as they allegedly connived with a private entity – Chilume Enterprises to carry out door-to-door collection of voter data across all 28 Assembly segments in Bengaluru. The Congress Party has demanded a judicial inquiry by the Chief Justice of Karnataka considering the gravity of the offence.

AICC general secretary and Karnataka incharge Randeep Singh Surjewala, during a press meet held in Bengaluru on Thursday, said that the BBMP commissioner (also the election officer of BBMP) had issued an order (dated August 20, 2022) giving permission to the private entity to collect crucial data of the citizens.

“The government gave permission to Chilume to carry out the survey in Mahadevapura Assembly segment and subsequently in all 28 segments in the city. Interestingly, the entity which claims to be an election management company, doing EVM preparation for political parties, offering temporary polling personnel from every branch of the government for political parties and owns a voter app– Digital Samiksha to provide services to political parties, MPs, MLAs, corporators and election aspirants, has zero experience in election work. However, it was roped in to do the voluminous data collection work free of cost. The entity subcontracted the work and thousands of contract workers were issued identity cards as booth level officers (BLO), which is a gross violation of the Representation of the People’s Act as only government, semi-government and local body employees can be deployed as BLOs,” said Surjewala, adding that the voter information thus collected was not being updated on the Election Commission’s official app - Garuda but on Digital Samiksha.

Surjewala demanded to know how did the government choose one particular private entity out of all other NGOs in the state to do election work at no cost before checking its antecedents.

“The BBMP has awarded the work to a private entity just like how Gujarat government had allotted work of the Morbi bridge (that collapsed recently). All were in cohoots to steal the electorates’ right to vote. A private entity allowed to collect personal information of voters is not just data theft but breach of privacy and fraud played upon the citizens. How can contracted employees of a private entity masquerade themselves as government officers of Karnataka and also procure booth-level officers identity cards? The two private entities involved in the conspiracy are Chilume and DAP Hombale Pvt Ltd and the kingpins of the companies - Krishnappa and Ravi Kumar, along with a former deputy chief minister and the chief minister and the BBMP commissioner is guilty of misappropriation of property (citizen data), criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy and there should be immediately booked and arrested,” said Surjewala.

“The chief minister should resign for being a conduit or party or patent for latent knowledge of the electoral fraud played out especially in the most IT-savvy city of the country,” demanded Surjewala.

CLP leader Siddaramaiah dubbed it as an “unpardonable offence”.

“The corruption is rampant and they(BJP) are trying to win the election through dubious means. How can Bommai continue as the chief minister. We demand Bommai should resign immediately as he has no moral right to continue as the CM. A case should be filed and Bommai and other officers who have connived with the private entities should also be arrested. This kind of fraud involving the chief minister had never happened,” said Siddaramaiah.

KPCC chief D.K Shivakumar said, “We used to see corruption in contracts and transfers. But this time, they have invited BJP workers through advertisement for election work. They have recruited 17,000 partyworkers and provided identity cards to map the voters besides additions and deletions of the voters. This is a way to tweak the voting outcome.”

“BBMP Commissioner Tushar Girinath has insulted the entire bureaucracy by playing into the hands of Bommai. The Article 324, 325, 326, 13 A and 13 C of the Constitution have been violated. Yesterday, Girinath has withdrawn the order stating the trust had violated certain conditions. But the order was withdrawn only because the fraud was brought to light by a news portal. Now, why did the government not file FIR against the private entity and why did they not arrest the accused? Why was the EC not informed about the attempt to fraudulently make fake entries into the electoral rolls (voterlist)?,” asked Shivakumar calling for immediate halting of all voter data collection and an FIR against all those involved in the fraud.

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