An official with India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has come under fire for tweeting the election dates for the southern state of Karnataka before the Election Commission officially announced them.
As the Election Commission (EC) started a press conference to announce the dates, the BJP’s IT cell chief Amit Malviya tweeted that Karnataka would vote on May 12 and the counting of votes would be done on May 18.
However, he got the counting date wrong, which the EC says is May 15.
After journalists at the press conference asked how such confidential information could be leaked from the EC, Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat said the matter would be investigated. “Be assured that actions legally and administratively befitting will be taken,” he was quoted as saying by ANI news agency.
“Certain things may have leaked for which the Election Commission will take appropriate action,” Rawat added.
The urgency of the matter led to a delegation headed by BJP leader and Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi visiting the EC office within a couple of hours of the incident. Later, Naqvi told the media Malviya’s tweet was based on a certain TV channel’s source.
Malviya’s tweet was followed by the Congress Party’s social media officer for Karnataka, Srivats, who also tweeted the dates ahead of the EC’s announcement. After, he gave a clarification saying he learnt the dates from local and national media.
The poll dates were first leaked by a national news channel along with some local news channels in Karnataka, reported Alt News, a digital news outlet that also works as a media watchdog. The tweets of Malviya and Srivats came later.
However, Congress, which is currently in power in the state, has not missed the chance to train its gun on BJP ahead of the state polls. Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a tweet, “Credibility of EC is on test. Will EC now issue [a] notice to BJP President, Amit Shah & register an [official first information report] against BJP IT Head for leaking EC’s confidential information?”