Bengaluru: Former Karnataka chief minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader B.S. Yeddyurappa on Monday alleged that many election officials in Karnataka worked to help Congress candidates in the just concluded assembly elections whose results were announced last Tuesday. He added that, if necessary, fresh elections should be held in constituencies where “grave mistakes" have been made.

“According to me in many assembly segments of Bidar and Gulbarga districts the police officials themselves helped rival candidates distribute money and liquor among the voters. All the complaints of BJP and its leaders failed to make any impact on the officials," Yeddyurappa said in a letter addressed to Chief Election Commissioner, Om Prakash Rawat on Monday.

His statements coming shortly after the chief electoral officer in Karnataka said that it will initiate strict action against those trying to create confusion over news reports that eight VVPAT carrying cases were found in a temporary shed near Managuli village, Basavana Bagewadi Taluka on Sunday.

“I am still unable to digest this news as it indicates the grave irregularities in the conduct of assembly elections in Karnataka. This incident has exposed the hollowness of the claim of the election commission that assembly elections in Karnataka were held in a fair and free manner," Yeddyurappa said in his letter.

Sanjiv Kumar, chief electoral officer of Karnataka clarified that the eight VVPAT carrying cases found in the shed do not belong to Vijayapura district nor to the election commission.

However, Yeddyurappa said that the finding of VVPAT machines exposes the enormity of the irregularities in the elections. “My sincere suggestion to the election commission is it should investigate all the incidents of irregularities which have been brought to the notice of the officials and commission and take a stem action against officials. In addition to this, the election commission should take a pragmatic look at all these incidents and if necessary fresh elections should ordered for the constituencies where grave mistakes have been taken place," he said.

The BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, the Congress got 78 and the Janata Dal (Secular) got 38 (including one from the Bahujan Samaj Party, with whom it had a pre-poll alliance). Though the JD(S) and Congress formed a post-poll alliance to get a simple majority, Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala invited the BJP to form the government, which lasted all of three days, as it could not manage to get the required numbers.

The BJP had accused the Congress of using unfair methods to win the elections even in the run-up to the polls. The election in Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Benglauru was postponed after around 10,000 voter ID cards and many more Form-6 documents were recovered from a private apartment in the locality. The BJP and Congress accused each other of resorting to foul play to win the elections, forcing the electoral officer to advance the elections to the last week of May.

He alleged that many election officials worked to help Congress candidates. Election officials remained silent over the use of ‘money, muscle and liquor’, he alleged.

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