Karnataka polls: No role for Kempaiah, political advisors as poll code kicks in

Retired IPS officer Kempaiah, who serves as advisor to the home minister, will have to quit after chief electoral officer Sanjiv Kumar clarified on Wednesday that such “political advisors” would not have any role, with the model code of conduct in place.

Kumar was responding to questions on whether Kempaiah could continue in his role as the home ministers advisor. “Well have to look into the nature of (his) appointment and take action. But political advisors have no longer have a role,” he said.

In the past, both BJP and JD(S) have blamed Kempaiah for the “mess in the home department.” The Opposition repeatedly sought Kempaiahs ouster, dubbing the retired policeman as “super home minister.”

This apart, the election authorities have booked several cases for violation of the model code of conduct that kicked in since Tuesday morning. Devarahippargi legislator A S Patil (Nadahalli) was booked for reportedly distributing sarees. “Some sarees have been seized as well,” Kumar said. In Chikkaballapur, a “political functionary” was booked for hosting lunch and Rs 7 lakh cash was seized from one Ganga Naik in Havanur in Haveri district, the CEO said.

He said he would check whether or not BJP national president Amit Shahs announcement that the saffron party would establish a R&D centre for arecanut costing Rs 500 crore if voted to power amounted to poll code violation. “Well check legal aspects,” Kumar said.

Kumar also ruled out the possibility of the poll date being revised, after the BJP objected to polling being fixed on a weekend (May 12 is a second Saturday) instead of a week day. “The date is finalised after considering various factors such as festivals, exams and evaluation,” he said.

The Election Commission will inquire into complaints on alleged misuse of government machinery by the ruling Congress. “If we get a complaint, it will be inquired into.” Action has been initiated already, he said, on defacement of government and public property.

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