Campaigning for Saturday's critical Karnataka Assembly elections may have come to an end but the controversies ahead of voting day are only mounting up.
On a day when I-T department's raids raised further questions over the methods of poll financing, and the election in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar constituency was deferred with the sitting Congress MLA being cited for the "conspiracy to vitiate the polls", the Rahul Gandhi-led party has now been embroiled in a fresh scandal.
A sensational document accessed by Republic TV from an organisation that claims to be an umbrella body for Muslims shows that Muslim voters have been asked to vote only for the Congress.
The circular, issued by the Karnataka Muslim Muttahida Mahaz on May 4, 2018 states the following:
'Considering the national and political scenario and after consultations with religious leaders, Karnataka Muslim Muttahida Mahaj has introspected and decided that for May 12th Assembly elections, support will be extended to the following candidates in these constituencies'
The body names the Congress candidates from Srinivaspur, Kolar Gold Field, Bangarapat, Kolar and Malur.
Here it is:
The advisory appears to entail a violation of the Representation of People Act's sections relating to appealing to people on grounds of religion, caste or community and to promoting enmity between different classes of citizens.
It also appears to be a repeat of the events before the Gujarat Assembly elections in November when the Archdiocese of Gandhinagar wrote a letter carrying the words "Nationalist forces are on the verge of taking over the country. The election results of Gujarat State Assembly can make a difference!", and much more.
The circular by the religious body poses a number of questions:
Is the body nudging the community to vote only for the Congress? Is the Congress aware that such an advisory has been issued, and if so, did it ask for votes to be sought on its behalf? Will the Election Commission take action over this blatant violation?