The plea filed before the court alleged that the BJP had wrongfully accessed Aadhaar-linked mobile phone numbers of voters to send WhatsApp messages and invites
The Madras High Court on Friday asked the Election Commission if the Puducherry Assembly election – scheduled for April 6 – could be deferred in light of allegations that the BJP had wrongfully accessed and misused voters’ Aadhaar details, including registered phone numbers, for campaigning purposes.
Describing it as “a matter of serious concern”, the court directed the poll body to investigate and file a full report by March 30. In its order the court also pulled up the Election Commission for “passing the buck” and urged it to treat the matter with the seriousness it deserved.
“It will not do for the Election Commission to pass the buck in this case and say that the cyber crimes division is conducting an investigation. When the Election Commission is up and about in all other matters and asserts its primacy and authority, it has to look into this allegation immediately and with the degree of seriousness that it deserves,” the two-member bench – of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy – said in its order.
The plea filed before the court alleged that the BJP – which one polling agency predicts will win a massive majority in next month’s election – had wrongfully accessed Aadhaar-linked mobile phone numbers of voters to send WhatsApp messages and invites to groups linking voters at booth levels.
The BJP has said it will file a response in court via its legal team.
Earlier today the party released its election manifesto, in which it promised to create 2.5 lakh new jobs, provide financial assistance of Rs 6,000 per year for all fishermen and gift free two-wheelers to for girls pursuing higher education.
The party also promised an extra Rs 2,000 to farmers under the PM KISAN scheme, a five-year water security plan and an Integrated Cattle Development Centre under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission.
Puducherry will vote for a new 30-member Assembly on April 6, with results due May 2.
In the 2016 election, the Congress won 15 seats, the All India NR Congress secured eight, the AIADMK four and the DMK two. The BJP could not win any.
With input from ANI