With less than 24 hours left for the Second Phase of the Lok Sabha Elections, the flying squads of the Election Commission are on a checking spree. From Odisha to Karnataka, the squads are checking the bags of top leaders including Chief Ministers of the two states. Yesterday, the poll panel’s flying squad had checked the luggage of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at a helipad in Rourkela. Today, the EC officials searched the chopper of Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy in Shivamogga. The Chief Minister was in the town address a poll rally.
#Video | Election Commission officials inspects Karnataka Chief Minister @hd_kumaraswamy's helicopter in Shivamogga (previously known as Shimoga) today when CM reached there to address poll campaign.#ElectionsWithNewsNation pic.twitter.com/TPw0Md9FAi— News Nation (@NewsNationTV) April 17, 2019
Other two leaders whose bags were checked include BS Yeddyurappa and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday. A report by the Deccan Herald said Yeddyurappa, the leader of the BJP in Karnataka, was about to travel to Raichur, and that the poll panel team "did not find any cash or other valuables". Local Odia media said that Pradhan was seen scolding the officials for checking his bags. According to sources, some police officials wanted to inspect the helicopter in which Pradhan had arrived. Subsequently, a heated argument broke out between the Union Minister and police officials. “As per Election Commission guidelines, two teams were present for routine checking. I was also present at the spot and Dharmendra Pradhan was requested to cooperate with the routine checks, but he reacted,” Burla-Hirakud SDPO Shishuranjan Mahapatra was quoted as saying by OdishaTV.in.
Earlier this month, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's SUV stopped at a checkpost in Hassan district, and was searched.
Mystery of black trunk
Earlier, the Karnataka unit of Congress on Sunday approached the Election Commision demanding a probe into the alleged transportation of a "suspicious black trunk" in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's helicopter during his visit to Chitradurg in Karnataka for poll campaign.
Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma asked the prime minister to come clean and said the Election Commission should inquire into the contents of the "trunk".
The prime minister had addressed an election rally in Karnataka's Chitradurga on April 9.
"We saw there were three more choppers escorting the prime minister's helicopter. After landing, a black trunk was taken out and whisked away in a private car which was not part of the SPG carcade," he alleged.