BJP Wants To Cancel Ramanagara By-Poll After Candidate Joins Congress

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BJP alleged that the developments are the "convergence of undue influence" practised by L Chandrashekar

Bengaluru:

A day after the BJP candidate announced that he had withdrawn from Ramanagara assembly by-polls, the party on Friday petitioned the Election Commission requesting it to "annul" the November 3 election immediately as the poll process has been "vitiated".

The BJP also demanded that leaders of Congress-JD(S) coalition, including Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, be charged under relevant provisions of law for allegedly acting in "collusion" to ensure that there is no contest.

In a major embarrassment for the BJP, two days before the Ramanagara assembly by-poll, L Chandrashekhar, its candidate against Mr Kumaraswamy's wife, quit the contest Thursday and returned to the Congress.

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With the BJP candidate withdrawing, Anita Kumaraswamy is expected to have smooth sailing.

In its petition to the Commission, the BJP alleged that the developments are the "convergence of undue influence" practised by Mr Chandrashekar, Congress' Bengaluru Rural lawmaker DK Suresh, Anita Kumaraswamy and the chief minister.

"Hence, it is also a convergence of fraud, and horse-trading of a candidate. We request you to kindly book cases against them under relevant provisions of the Law for offences against elections under section 171 of the IPC and for undue influence and corrupt practices under the Representation of People Act," the party said.

"Further, we request you to annul the elections immediately and forthwith and restore the faith of people in democracy," it added.

Mr Chandrashekhar, son of senior congress leader CM Lingappa, had joined the BJP as the Congress decided to support the candidate of its ruling coalition partner JD(S).

Within days of joining the BJP, he was announced as the party's candidate for the by-poll.

In the petition submitted to Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar by party MLC and spokesperson Ashwath Narayan along with others, the BJP said Mr Chandrashekar's act interferes and violates the "free and absolute right" of BJP voters to cast their votes.

It said as the officially nominated BJP candidate withdrew and joined the Congress, there is no BJP candidate and even though there is a name on the ballot paper, it is merely a show piece as the candidate himself has left the BJP and joined the Congress.

"When the candidate has left the BJP and joined the Congress, his name in the voter ballot as BJP candidate has no meaning. Therefore, the entire election process is vitiated," it added.

By-election to Ramanagara was necessitated after Mr Kumaraswamy gave up the seat preferring Chabv nnapatna, the other seat he had won in the May assembly polls.

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