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Karnataka bypolls: RR Nagar Congress candidate Kusuma and Siddaramaiah’s escort staff booked for violating poll code

An ASI deployed at the RR Nagar returning officer's office said that the escort staff had overpowered the BBMP office staff after the guards tried to prevent Kusuma, Congress leaders and party workers from breaching the barricades of a prohibited area at the east gate of the office.

Bengaluru police on Wednesday booked an FIR against Rajarajeshwari Nagar (RR Nagar) by-poll Congress candidate Kusuma H and escort staff of senior Congress leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah on Wednesday for allegedly violating the model code of conduct.

Based on the complaint filed by ASI Nagaraja N, police have registered an FIR at the Rajarajeshwari Nagar police station. In his complaint, Nagaraja said that he had been deployed for security at the RR Nagar returning officer’s office with instructions not to allow vehicles within 100 meters from the gate as the code of conduct is in place.

“Around 11.15 am, Kusuma and Congress leaders and party workers tried to enter the prohibited area by breaching the barricades in the east gate of the BBMP office. I along with other police staff tried to stop them but was overpowered by the escort staff of the former Chief Minister and entered into premises with vehicles. This incident is a violation of the code of conduct,” Nagaraja said in the complaint.

In light of the Covid pandemic, the Election Commission recently issued strict measures to be followed during filing of nominations. Earlier, District Election Officer and BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad had said that BBMP will only allow two persons at the time of filing the nominations instead of five. Similarly, only two vehicles will be allowed within the 100-meter radius of the returning officer’s office.

Based on the complaint by Nagaraja, Kusuma and others are charged under Section 188 (Disobedience to an order duly promulgated by public servant) and Section 353 (criminal force to deter public servant to discharge his duties) of the IPC.

Kusuma was joined by Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah on Wednesday while filing nomination for the by-election to the legislative assembly constituency of Rajarajeshwarinagar (RR Nagar).

The RR Nagar seat fell vacant after the disqualification of the-then Congress MLA N Munirathna under the anti-defection law last year.

Kusuma holds an MS degree in information technology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and is currently an assistant professor of computer science engineering at Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering in Bengaluru.

Kusuma’s father Hanumantharayappa unsuccessfully contested the 2008 election to Rajarajeshwari Nagar on a JD(S) ticket. Hanumantharayappa was earlier with the Congress before joining JD(S). Kusuma joined Congress on October 4.

Meanwhile, BJP candidate Munirathna and JD(S) candidate Krishnamurthy V also filed their nomination on Wednesday for the bypolls that are scheduled to take place on November 3.

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