New Delhi: Taking strong exception to alleged harassment of party chief Mayawati while campaigning in Karnataka, BSP on Monday demanded immediate removal of the state Chief Electoral Officer and action against erring officials to ensure fair polls. BSP general secretary Satish Chandra Misra has complained to the Chief Election Commissioner, saying Mayawati was "deliberately" frisked and checked for unaccounted cash when she was campaigning in the southern state on April 27, 2013.
Misra also charged the Karnataka CEO of "deliberate" humiliation and harassment of the BSP leader, besides making false statements of recovery of unaccounted cash from her. "It is clear that the entire action was pre-planned, deliberate and intentional to harass, embarrass and disturb the party president as well as election rally apparently playing at the hands of rival political parties, who were disturbed looking at the huge crowds assembled to attend the public meeting of Mayawati," Misra said in a letter to the CEC.
The BSP leader said the Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, and other officers below him who "misbehaved" under his directions have acted "malafide" at the behest of political parties who are in opposition to BSP. Misra said there is no hope of free and fair poll being held under the guidance of the current CEO. "Officers of this nature deserve to be removed outrightly from the said office so that free and fair elections are held in Karnataka and severe action deserves to be taken against all those who misbehaved and deliberately humiliated and embarrassed Mayawati," he said.
Misra also demanded that the EC must clarify and make public how much money politicians and party presidents and other leaders of political parties can take while campaigning during elections for meeting out their daily expenses. Expressing hope that their complaint is looked into urgently by the EC, the BSP demanded all parties be informed about the list of exempted persons from checking. Misra said the action of Karnataka CEO in conducting the flying quad inspection was "definitely malafide" and was "done to stall a free and fair election".
Giving details about the incident, Misra said the moment Mayawati landed at the PWD helipad on Bijapur Road in Jevargi in Gulbarga district of Karnataka on April 27, officials came to her and searched her in full public view. Later, when she was delivering her speech at the election rally after a 15 minute drive, she was again stopped by poll officials in the district and frisked and checked in public, he claimed. Misra said only a total of Rs one lakh was found from his and Mayawati's possession, after which the Election Commission officials gave the money back saying Rs 50,000 was allowed to be taken by each of them.