Varuna resident alleges undue influence, voter inducement during Assembly elections
Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court issued a notice to Chief Minister Siddharamaiah on Friday, following an election petition filed by a voter seeking to nullify Siddharamaiah’s election from the Varuna Assembly Constituency in the recently concluded State Assembly elections.
The petition alleges electoral malpractices during the elections. Justice S. Sunil Dutt Yadav issued the notice based on the accusation that Siddharamaiah engaged in electoral malpractices during the elections.
The petitioner, K.M. Shankar, a voter from Varuna and former Gram Panchayat Member from Someshwarapura, Koodanahalli, requested the Court to set aside Siddharamaiah’s election victory. The basis for the demand was Siddharamaiah’s alleged involvement in corrupt practices through the implementation of five guarantee schemes.
During the election campaign, the Congress party had presented five guarantees aimed at benefiting the people of Karnataka, including schemes related to electricity, financial support for women, food grains for below poverty line families and financial aid for unemployed graduates and diploma holders, as well as free bus rides for women across the State.
The petition argued that these guarantees were presented as inducements to the electorate of Varuna Constituency, with the intention to influence them to vote in favour of the Congress party’s candidate. It claimed that the promises were made with Siddharamaiah’s consent and were meant to gratify the electorate.
Shankar urged the Court to declare Siddharamaiah’s victory as void under various provisions of Section 100 of the Representation of People Act, citing multiple corrupt practices and violations of Section 123 of the same Act related to undue influence. (Undue influence, that is to say, any direct or indirect interference or attempt to interfere on the part of the candidate or his agent, or of any other person).
The petitioner also contended that these guarantees amounted to bribery. Moreover, it was argued that these policies contradicted the directive principles of State policy. Justice Yadav has scheduled further proceedings on Sept. 1.