- 10,000 voter cards were found in a flat in Rajarajeshwari Nagar
- The poll panel said the seizure was "planned design to induce" voters
- Elections in this constituency will now be held on May 28
The Election Commission order said the seizure of nearly 10,000 cards and a truck-load of campaign material in the constituency had suggested there was "planned design to induce the voters, thus attempt to vitiate the poll process".
It is imperative to defer the election for the time being so that the "vitiating effect of the distribution of money and gift items to the electors loses its intensity" and the ID cards were returned to the voters, the EC said in its order to defer the elections from this seat by 16 days.
The BJP, which had claimed to have discovered the ID cards, called the commission's order a "victory of democracy". It said the police case filed against the Congress candidate and sitting legislator Munirathna, who it described as the Congress's moneybag, would land the state's ruling party "in a soup".
The Congress had earlier responded to attempts to link the election ID cards to its candidate as a conspiracy, accusing the BJP of enacting the "drama" of raiding an apartment owned by a local BJP leader and planting "fake evidence".
Deputy Election Commissioner Chandrabhushan Kumar, who was rushed to Bengaluru to inquire into the allegations, told the Election Commission that the local police had recorded statements of 8 of the 9,564 individuals whose identity cards were found in the Bengaluru flat.
They told the police that their cards were taken away a month back in exchange for water cans. They were also promised cookers once the polling were over.
"Water cans were seized from those houses. Seized water cans bear the photo and texts of the INC, or Indian National Congress candidate from the Rajarajeswari Nagar seat," the Election Commission said.