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Karnataka poll date leak: Amit Malviya ‘absolved’, Congress to be questioned

SNS | New Delhi |

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) IT-cell head Amit Malviya will not be probed by the Election Commission of India (EC) over Karnataka election schedule leak.

According to EC’s office order, Srivatsa B, who heads the Congress party’s social media cell in Karnataka will be questioned. However, the office order has no mention of BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya as part of the probe.

As per media reports, the EC has said that it doesn’t need to question Malviya, since he wrote to the poll body explaining the source of his tweet and the letter would be taken as his response.

The order has asked a six-member body constituted to inquire into the alleged leaking of information pertaining to schedule of 2018 Karnataka Assembly election before its official announcement.

Further, the ECI wants to know the source of a Kannada channel “allegedly owned by a @BJP4india MP tweeted by Poulomi Saha” and if there was any lapses . The committee will also recommend how to prevent any chances of such eventuality in future.

The EC informed that the committee, which was immediately set up, has already sought information from the media organisations and individuals concerned.

On Tuesday, Malviya got embroiled in a controversy after he reportedly revealed the polling and counting dates for Karnataka Assembly elections even before the Election Commission.

However, the counting date posted by Malviya turned out to be incorrect.

Malviya had tweeted May 12 and May 18 as the dates for polling and counting, respectively. The official dates as declared by the EC later are May 12 and May 15.

Both, Amit Malviya and Srivatsa B, on Tuesday clarified that their source of information was a television news channel that based its report the poll dates on a source.

Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, accompanied by fellow BJP leaders Bhupender Yadav and Anil Bulani and others, met the Election Commission to explain their position and how their IT chief Malviya went by the television channel as the source of his tweet.

Also read | BJP is ‘Super Election Commission’: Surjewala on Amit Malviya’s tweet controversy

Karnataka Assembly elections

The term of the 224-member Karnataka Assembly ends on 28 May this year.

The BJP is seeking to wrest control of the southern state from the Congress and has already declared former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa as its chief ministerial candidate.

Also read | Karnataka Assembly election: Polling on May 12, results on May 15

The ruling Congress will contest the polls under the leadership of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in its bid to retain its hold over the state. Karnataka is the only big state, besides Punjab, which is now ruled by the Congress.

It is vital for the Congress to retain Karnataka to set a tone for the 2019 general elections, and also because it is currently in power only in three states — Punjab, Karnataka and Mizoram, besides the Union Territory of Puducherry.