Alleging grave irregularities in Karnataka Assembly elections, former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa wrote a letter to the election commission. The development comes a day after cases of voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines were found abandoned in a shed in Vijayapur district of Karnataka. In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat, BS Yeddyurappa alleged, “This incident has exposed the hollowness of the claim of the election commission that assembly elections in Karnataka were held in a fair and free manner.” He said there is a nexus between election commission officials and Congress-JDS alliance in the state. 

“In many assembly segments, money, muscle and liquor power of the rival party leaders played a key role in the elections and officials involved with the elections remained silent to all these illegal acts,” alleged Yeddyurappa. Earlier in the day, Karnataka’s Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar informed the media that 8 VVPAT carrying boxes, not the machines, had been found. Kumar said, “VVPATS are electronically monitored and can be tracked with the six-digit barcode – one alphabet and five numerals. The VVPATS found in Vijaypur do not have the six-digit code.” He further added that recovered VVPAT cases had been manufactured by Gujarat based company called Jyothi Plastics.

However, denying foul play, Kumar said these quality cases are very similar to election commission’s cases, but these have nothing to do with the poll process. He claimed all 2274 VVPAT machines are safe and under the scrutiny of election commission officials.

On March 19, the Karnataka political drama ended after BS Yeddyurappa-led government fell down. The BJP leader resigned as the Chief Minister of Karnataka ahead of the floor test in Vidhana Soudha after he realised that he doesn’t have numbers to prove majority in the house, paving the way for governor Vajubhai Vala to invite JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy to form the government in the state. 

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