Mandya: A day after Karnataka’s Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar and Special Expenditure Observer Madhu Mahajan held an enquiry at Mandya DC’s Office on disputes revolving around the validation of nomination papers of coalition candidate Nikhil Kumaraswamy, Mysuru Regional Commissioner T.K. Anil Kumar began his enquiry into the row this morning.
The meeting began at around 11.30 am and Mandya DC and Returning Officer N. Manjushree and other Election Officers were present. Media was barred from entering the meeting venue and the gates were locked. Only select officials were being allowed inside.
Actress Sumalatha Ambarish, who is contesting as an Independent candidate from Mandya, had complained and had alleged that the District Election Officers were favouring Nikhil, the son of Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy who is contesting against her as a JD(S)-Congress coalition candidate. She accused the District Election Commission of trying to help her opponent illegally.
Sources said that the Regional Commissioner is probing Sumalatha’s allegation that Nikhil was given Serial No. 1 in Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) in violation of rules and after ignoring alphabetical or the serial number order of the political parties based on national vote count. He is also looking into allegations that Nikhil’s nomination papers/ affidavit was not valid and DC Manjushree had helped him to rectify the mistakes.
Sumalatha lashes out at Chief Minister
Meanwhile, accusing CM Kumaraswamy of misusing his office, Sumalatha has alleged that the nomination papers of Nikhil were not in order. Addressing a press meet in Mandya this morning, Sumalatha said that she had reported several poll code violations by Nikhil to the Election Commission and the State Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar.
Alleging that Mandya SP had written to the authorities not to cut power when Nikhil filed his nomination on Mar.25, Sumalatha said this was disgusting and was blatant misuse by those in power. Maintaining that she has every right as a candidate herself to question any irregularities in the scrutiny of nomination papers of rival candidates, she said that she had highlighted the flaws in Nikhil’s papers and submitted the same in writing as directed by the Returning Officer.
‘To confuse voters’
Claiming that Nikhil has been allotted serial No.1 in the EVM, Sumalatha questioned why she was allotted serial No. 20, with her name appearing in the second EVM. Continuing her tirade against the CM, Sumalatha alleged that the Mandya DC Office was being controlled by the CM’s office.
According to Sumalatha it is illegal to allot serial number ‘01’ to a regional party candidate. “The District Election Officer, also Deputy Commissioner, N. Manjushree is involved in irregularities due to pressure from Chief Minister. The intention is to create confusion among the voters. One Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) can accommodate the names of only 16 candidates. So, Sumalatha’s name will be on the second EVM. This will lead to confusion among the voters,” she said.
Sumalatha said her name is amid three other Sumalathas, who have filed the papers as Independents. “While one Sumalatha’s name is above my name, two others — M. Sumalatha and P. Sumalatha — are below. The first Sumalatha has no initials or surname. This is also a conspiracy to confuse the voters,” she alleged.
Alleging that her objections to Nikhil’s nomination papers were not put on notice board, she alleged that the district authorities falsely claimed that no objections were received. Accusing the State Government of intentionally cutting off power in Mandya when she file her nomination on Mar. 20, she questioned the district authorities about allotting the serial numbers of her three other name sake (Sumalatha) candidates above and below her own serial number of 20, which comes in the second EVM.
BSP candidates files objections
BSP candidate Nanjundaswamy has objected to Nikhil being allotted serial No.1 in the EVM. Nanjundaswamy, who comes next (No.2) in the list of candidates in EVM, has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against Nikhil getting No.1.