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Karnataka Elections 2023: Huge Ruckus Noticed Outside Jayanagar Counting Center; Amid Heavy Police Presence

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For Karnataka, today is a momentous day. The counting phase of the 2023 Karnataka Assembly election is underway, and both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) need to win. In the state where voting took place on Wednesday, a party must win 113 seats to secure a majority and stake its claim to establishing a government. In the state, there are 224 seats. Congress secured a safe majority of 136 seats in the Legislative Assembly election.

A narrow margin of 16 votes separated BJP candidate C.K. Ramamurthy from Congress incumbent MLA Sowmya Reddy in the Jayanagar constituency after what seemed like an endless process of counting and scrutinising ballots. After 16 rounds of counting, it looked like Sowmya Reddy had won by a slim margin at 2 pm on Saturday. Although the EC did not make an official announcement, it was presumed that Sowmya had won because, according to the EC’s official website, she received 294 more votes than Ramamurthy. However, a recount was necessary because the number of postal ballots was greater than the victory margin.

According to ECI regulations, an obligatory re-verification is required if the outcome solely depends on counting postal ballots. All postal ballots rejected as invalid, and the votes totalled in favour of each candidate should be once again verified and tallied in the presence of the Observer and Returning Officer.

Even though the counting process started in the morning, the Jayanagar constituency result wasn’t announced until after midnight due to a big drama that took place at SSMRV PU College during the evening when the votes were being processed.

According to reports, after completing all rounds of counting, Ms Reddy was declared the victor by a margin of 160 votes. Later on, though, BJP leaders—particularly Padmanabhanagar MLA R. Ashok and Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya—took issue with 177 postal ballot ballots that had been rejected for procedural grounds. Tushar Giri Nath, the district election officer and chief commissioner for the BBMP, arrived at the counting centre as the misunderstanding persisted in order to conduct additional research.

According to reports from the counting facility, there had been multiple rounds of vote recounting before the late-night development. Members of both parties became somewhat confused as a result of this.

Why was the rejected postal ballot included?

The main charge made by Congress is that Sowmya still had more votes than Ramamurthy after the first required recount. The party claims that the EC Observer left at this point and returned, saying that roughly 200 non-gazetted postal ballots that were disregarded in the initial recount needed to be counted once more. Sowmya was 16 votes behind at the time of the recount. She subsequently requested a recount, and Ramamurthy once more led with 16 votes.


Image Source: The Hindu

The BJP’s lead, according to the Congress, was only achieved by Ramamurthy because similarly formatted postal ballots for the Congress were not added, but these ballots for the BJP were.

The entire process should always be videotaped without jeopardising the confidentiality of the ballot, and the video cassette/CD must be sealed in a separate envelope for reference in the future, per ECI’s recommendations.

In the meantime, the BJP claimed that the recount was carried out at the Congress’s request and charged Congress leaders of breaking into the counting facility.

Leaders at the venue:

It was reported that DK Shivkumar and Ramalinga Reddy of the Congress had reached the counting centre in Jayanagar. However, the police presence stopped the further advancement of the Congress leaders. While both parties are celebrating outside the constituency, there are reports that Tejasvi Surya and CK Ramamurthy were outside the counting centre. The police had asked the leaders to leave the counting centre to avoid any untoward incident.

Moreover, DK Suresh tried to barge into the counting centre in Jayanagar but was met with police officers who stopped him. There was an angry exchange between the police and the supporters.

Additionally, according to a video, it was seen that MP Tejasvi Surya and his associates were inside the counting centre, which violates the code of the Election Commission of India. Many have questioned the ECI regarding the incident, but no answer has been given.

The Congress leaders then organised a demonstration outside the counting location to oppose Mr Surya and Mr Ashok’s entry. “Even though Ms. Reddy, the Congress candidate from Jayanagar constituency, achieved a victory, on the pretext of recounting, the election officials have tried to twist the results. Opposing this and the move to let Mr. Ashok and Mr. Surya, who are not agents, illegally enter the counting centre, we held a protest opposite the counting centre,” Mr Shivakumar said in a tweet.


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