A court in Karnataka’s Gokak has issued summons to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa in a case of an alleged violation of model code of conduct during campaigning on November 23, 2019, ahead of a bypoll, an official said on Saturday.
“Judicial Magistrate First Class and Principal Judge C.K. Veeresh Kumar issued the summons on June 26 to the accused (Yediyurappa) after taking cognisance of an offence punishable under Sections 123 (3) of the Representation of People’s Act and 171 (F) of the Indian Penal Code,” the official told IANS on phone.
Gokak is about 550km northwest of Bengaluru in the southern state.
The incident occurred ahead of the December 5 Assembly bypoll in which ruling BJP nominee Ramesh Jarkiholi had contested and won after resigning from the House in July 2019.
“Yediyurappa called the Veerashaiva Lingayat community to vote for Jarkiholi, which is a violation of the poll code in force,” the Gokak police official said citing the order.
Jarkiholi, a defector from the Congress to the BJP, is now the Water Resources Minister in the year-old state BJP government since February 6, 2020.
“As the month-old summons is returnable by September 1, 2020, the Legal Department will study the order and respond suitably,” an official in the Chief Minister’s Office told IANS here.
The judge issued the summons after rejecting the ‘B’ final report the Gokak police filed in the court in June.
Yediyurappa and Jarkiholi are Lingayats, a politically dominant community, which accounts for 18 per cent of the state’s seven crore population.
“The court is convinced that there are enough materials in the ‘B’ final report to proceed against the accused and subject the accused to a trial for the offence,” said the judge before issuing the summons,” the police said.
The Chief Minister is also accused of attempting to consolidate the Veerashaiva voters in the town, where Veerashaiva Lingayat is a dominant sect.
“The accused in his speech on two occasions appealed to the specific community but not to party workers for seeking votes in favour of the candidate,” noted the order.
The Gokak town police station Investigating Officer filed the ‘B’ report in the court, appealing to dismiss the case on the ground that due to the mistake of facts and pressure of work and on the wrong assumption the FIR was lodged.