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EC collects 4,700 postal ballots, Karnataka Opposition cries foul

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Election Commission officials have collected 4,687 postal ballots from Sira, where the byelection is being held on November 3. But opposition parties cried foul, saying the number is too big and pointed to the Dubaku by-election in Telangana, where the opposition has alleged that the ruling party, Telangana Ekikarana Samiti, had the list of postal ballot voters earlier than other parties and took undue advantage with over 6,000 votes already being cast.

Opposition parties in Karnataka too alleged that the ruling party had an early access to the list, which was prepared by the Election Commission.

JDS senior leader H D Kumaraswamy said, “The BJP had the list on October 23, while we got it only on October 25.” Congress candidate from Sira, T B Jayachandra, said, “We have been cheated. The officers did not even seal the ballots after collecting them.

When our party workers protested, they were booked under Section 353.’’ Kumaraswamy said, “They tried to woo our voters, who refused the offer as they are not corrupt.”

Surprisingly, he added, in every category of such ballots, the Sira numbers are more, though RR Nagar has more number of senior citizens, disabled and Covid positive persons, who are eligible to cast such votes. 

Officials said that though RR Nagar has more Covid cases, the patients have been allowed to vote, reducing the postal ballot numbers. Also, senior citizen and disabled voters in Sira far outnumber RR Nagar’s. In RR Nagar, 225 such ballots have been cast. Of them, 210 are from the elderly and 15 from the disabled. 

In all, 5,660 senior citizens and 695 disabled from the constituency are eligible to cast their postal ballots, said State Election Commission CEO Karnataka Sanjiv Kumar. In Sira, of the 4,687 postal ballots cast, 2,587 are from senior citizens and 2,001 from the disabled and Covid affected. In all, 4941 are allowed to cast postal ballots.

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