A complaint was filed before the Returning Officer of the Padmanabhanagar constituency on Friday against Home Minister R. Ashok accusing him of using the police to distribute pamphlets “to influence the voter”. Mr. Ashok is seeking to re-enter the Assembly from the same constituency.
According to the complainant, Wing Commander (retd.) G.B. Athri, police personnel attached to the Banashankari sub-division were distributing pamphlets containing safety advisories for citizens, particularly women, on Friday. The complainant is also in the fray as an Independent. The pamphlets were sponsored by and issued in the name of the Home Minister’s namesake and party colleague R. Ashok, who is the general secretary of the BJP’s Youth Wing. The complainant has argued that the pamphlets were issued to “garner undue advantage for the BJP candidate of the same name (the Home Minister)”.
Seeking an immediate ban on the pamphlet, Mr. Athri said in his complaint: “It is common sense that no private party can ever endorse a circular/alert to citizenry by the Police Department without the approval of an appropriate authority, and more so during an election campaign.” The Kannada pamphlet, a copy of which is available with The Hindu, has the Karnataka Police emblem on the top and says it is being issued by the Banashankari police of Bangalore South Division of the Bangalore City Police. At the bottom of the pamphlet, it says: issued by R. Ashok, general secretary of the BJP’s Youth Wing.
“Who are these political persons who printed this pamphlet for distribution by the police? Who accorded permission for printing by political persons? Under which law was permission given to a political person to print pamphlets on behalf of the Banashankari police station?” the complaintant asked.