Battleground Karnataka: state to go to polls on May 12, counting on May 15

Polling for the state Assembly elections in Karnataka will be held on May 12 and the votes will be counted on May 15, the Election Commission announced on Tuesday.

Even before the Chief Election Commissioner, O P Rawat, announced the schedule in a press conference at the Nirvachan Sadan here, the chief of the IT cell of the BJP Amit Malviya posted the poll date on Twitter.

Some TV channels also aired the date of the elections before the EC made it public.

As the leak of the poll schedule triggered a political controversy, the EC promised an investigation.

The BJP, which is in power at the Centre, is the principal challenger to the ruling Congress in Karnataka.

The EC will issue the notification for the elections on April 17, but the Model Code of Conduct came into effect immediately after the announcement of the schedule.

Altogether 49,682,357 voters are expected to exercise their franchise and the commission will set up 56,696 polling stations across the state, said Rawat.

The CEC, who was joined by election commissioners Sunil Arora and Ashok Lavasa, in the press conference, promised an investigation into the leak of poll date before the formal announcement by the commission.

He said that the poll panel would not hesitate to take the strictest possible action against those found to be responsible for the leak.

He also did not rule out the possibility of changing the date of the polls in view of the leak.

Rawat was yet to read out the poll schedule, when the media persons drew his attention to a tweet by the BJP IT cell chief, who had posted that Karnataka would go to polls on May 12.

The CEC, visibly perplexed, looked at Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha and other officials of the poll panel and apparently enquired about the veracity of the information that the poll date had been announced.

“Certain things may have leaked for which Election Commission will take appropriate action,” he later told the media persons.

“It will be investigated. Be assured, legally and administratively befitting action would be taken,” Rawat added.

He then went on to read out the schedule of the elections.

Rawat said that April 24 will be the last date for filing nominations and April 27 will be the last date for withdrawal of the same.

The nominations would be scrutinised on April 25. The votes will be counted on May 15 and the results are expected on the same day.

Polling will be held in a single phase on May 12. The CEC said that the poll panel had sought the views of the political parties in Karnataka and all of them were of the view that the polling should be held in a single phase.

Malviyas tweet:

“Karnataka will vote on May 12, 2018, counting on May 18, 2018,” Malviya posted Twitter. He got the date of polling correct, but the date of counting wrong.

The BJP IT cell chief, however, deleted the tweet after it triggered a controversy.

“The BJP becomes the Super Election Commission as they announce poll dates for Karnataka even before the EC,” tweeted Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

“Credibility of the EC is on a test. Will the EC now issue a notice to BJP President, Amit Shah & register an FIR against BJP IT Head for leaking ECs confidential information,” he added.

Asked if the EC would consider changing the date of poll in view of the leak of the poll date, Rawat said that it could not be answered immediately and the commission would take a call only after an investigation.

The term of the current state Assembly will end on May 28.

Polling for the state Assembly elections in Karnataka will be held on May 12 and the votes will be counted on May 15, the Election Commission announced on Tuesday.

Even before the Chief Election Commissioner, O P Rawat, announced the schedule in a press conference at the Nirvachan Sadan here, the chief of the IT cell of the BJP Amit Malviya posted the poll date on Twitter.

Some TV channels also aired the date of the elections before the EC made it public.

As the leak of the poll schedule triggered a political controversy, the EC promised an investigation.

The BJP, which is in power at the Centre, is the principal challenger to the ruling Congress in Karnataka.

The EC will issue the notification for the elections on April 17, but the Model Code of Conduct came into effect immediately after the announcement of the schedule.

Altogether 49,682,357 voters are expected to exercise their franchise and the commission will set up 56,696 polling stations across the state, said Rawat.

The CEC, who was joined by election commissioners Sunil Arora and Ashok Lavasa, in the press conference, promised an investigation into the leak of poll date before the formal announcement by the commission.

He said that the poll panel would not hesitate to take the strictest possible action against those found to be responsible for the leak.

He also did not rule out the possibility of changing the date of the polls in view of the leak.

Rawat was yet to read out the poll schedule, when the media persons drew his attention to a tweet by the BJP IT cell chief, who had posted that Karnataka would go to polls on May 12.

The CEC, visibly perplexed, looked at Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha and other officials of the poll panel and apparently enquired about the veracity of the information that the poll date had been announced.

“Certain things may have leaked for which Election Commission will take appropriate action,” he later told the media persons.

“It will be investigated. Be assured, legally and administratively befitting action would be taken,” Rawat added.

He then went on to read out the schedule of the elections.

Rawat said that April 24 will be the last date for filing nominations and April 27 will be the last date for withdrawal of the same.

The nominations would be scrutinised on April 25. The votes will be counted on May 15 and the results are expected on the same day.

Polling will be held in a single phase on May 12. The CEC said that the poll panel had sought the views of the political parties in Karnataka and all of them were of the view that the polling should be held in a single phase.

Malviya’s tweet:

“Karnataka will vote on May 12, 2018, counting on May 18, 2018,” Malviya posted Twitter. He got the date of polling correct, but the date of counting wrong.

The BJP IT cell chief, however, deleted the tweet after it triggered a controversy.

“The BJP becomes the ‘Super Election Commission’ as they announce poll dates for Karnataka even before the EC,” tweeted Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

“Credibility of the EC is on a test. Will the EC now issue a notice to BJP President, Amit Shah & register an FIR against BJP IT Head for leaking EC’s confidential information,” he added.

Asked if the EC would consider changing the date of poll in view of the leak of the poll date, Rawat said that it could not be answered immediately and the commission would take a call only after an investigation.

The term of the current state Assembly will end on May 28.

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