New Delhi: Moments before the Karnataka election was announced by the Election Commission today, the May 12 poll date was revealed in a tweet by the BJP’s Amit Malviya, which has set off a huge controversy. It soon emerged that the Congress’s social media in-charge in Karnataka put out a tweet at the same time – 11.08 am – a good 15 minutes before the announcement.
The tweet by Amit Malviya, which had the date of counting wrong, was deleted quickly. Called out by a journalist on his “scoop”, Amit Malviya, who heads the BJP’s IT cell, credited the information to a television channel.
The Karnataka results will be announced on May 15. The deleted tweet had it as May 18.
On spotting Mr Malviya’s tweet in the middle of Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat’s press conference to announce the Karnataka poll sked, reporters questioned the apparent “leak”.
“Strict legal and administrative action will be taken on the leak of information,” Mr Rawat said. He had earlier seemed to imply to reporters that since the date of the results was wrong, it didn’t count as a leak. “We won’t comment on changing date because of a leak. The decision was just taken. They were wrong about counting date so it’s wrong to say they were prepared beforehand,” said the top election officer.
Suspended BJP lawmaker and former cricketer Kirti Azad called Mr Malviya the “Steve Smith” of BJP, referring to the disgraced Australian cricketer caught in a ball-tampering scandal.
The tweet was seized by the Congress to reinforce its allegation that the Election Commission is “biased”. But soon the party was having to explain screenshots of a tweet by its own member.
The ruling Congress in Karnataka faces a massive challenge with an aggressive BJP taking a head-start in its campaign to snatch one of the only three states ruled by the party.A “BJP tsunami” is coming to Karnataka, said party president Amit Shah.
Amit Shah has pitted BS Yeddyurappa – the chief minister of Karnataka’s first BJP government – against the Congress’s chief minister Siddaramaiah.