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'Bommai is kingpin in voter data theft case': Siddaramaiah

Bengaluru: Former Karnataka chief minister and the Opposition leader in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah on Saturday requested the Election Commission (EC) to scrutinise all 28 constituencies in connection with the 'electoral fraud' in the state allegedly at the behest of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and his BJP government.

The former CM labelled his successor as the 'kingpin' in the case. Addressing a press conference in Bengaluru on Saturday, Siddaramaiah opened up on the Congress' allegation of voter data theft, saying, "The Election Commission took our complaint seriously and suspended two senior IAS officers, along with 3 electoral officers at Shivajinagar, Mahadevapura and Chickpet constituencies. This is a clear proof of malpractice."

"I request the EC to scrutinise all 28 Assembly constituencies of Bengaluru. Now they (BJP) are saying that a similar tampering (of voter data) was done in my tenure as chief minister. If their charges are true, they should conduct a judicial inquiry. There was no such complaint in our tenure," Siddaramaiah said.

Levelling a direct charge at his incumbent, the former CM said, "The kingpin in the voter ID tampering case is none other than Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. The Election Commission should institute an inquiry in the matter, under the supervision of the chief justice of the Karnataka High Court, as only a probe would help restore people's faith in the EC."
On November 19, Congress leaders reached the office of the Karnataka Election Commission for filing a complaint in the 'voter data theft' case.

State Congress leaders reached the SEC office days after Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that the CM was directly involved in electoral fraud in Bengaluru.
Surjewala had said, "Shocking expose reveals that those in citadels of power, including Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai, are responsible for theft of voters data, fraud and impersonation."

He demanded a high-level probe in the matter, claiming that a private agency named 'Chilume' was authorised by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) -- the principal municipal body of Bengaluru -- to carry out a door-to-door survey of voters in the city.
"CM Bommai, his officials, govt officers, BBMP people and State Election authority are partners in crime in trampling democracy," he had alleged.

Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah, on Saturday, further alleged the BJP was never in favour of social justice.
"What has the BJP done for the poor and downtrodden? They oppose reservation, are against minorities and also opposed the Mandal Commission. The BJP was never in favour of social justice -- never before, not now and never in future," the former CM said. (ANI)

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