The Madras High Court has taken seriously an accusation that Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has misused its power while accessing details of individuals in the upcoming election, and directed the Election Commission of India to file a detailed report on the subject by Friday.
A petition was filed by A. Anand, president of the Puducherry unit of the Democratic Youth Foundation of India (DYFI), in the Madras High Court earlier this week claiming that the BJP is accessing the details of individuals through the biometric Aadhaar Card or unique identification data card.
Aadhaar, a 12-digit identification number for Indian citizens which also incorporates fingerprints and iris scanning, is essential for accessing welfare benefits and has all an individual's details such as phone number, address, email address and much more. Aadhaar data is managed by a subsidiary of the federal Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity).
"BJP candidates in the state have managed to get the contact numbers of all the individuals of their respective area and created a WhatsApp group to communicate with individuals personally", Anand told Sputnik alleging that one such administrator has formed as many as 952 groups from the same number.
"Do you know any digital marketing company who got data polling booth-wise? Let us know too", Anand sarcastically said.
Meanwhile, when the Election Commission told the High Court that after receiving Anand's complaint, it had forwarded the matter to cybercrime cell, the Court said: "the petitioner has raised a matter of grave concern… that a ruling party has accessed the personal details of the citizen. The Election Commission of India (ECI) cannot pass the buck to the cybercrime … It (ECI) has to look into the seriousness of the matter immediately and with a degree of severity".
As many as 324 candidates are contesting the election for Puducherry's 30 assembly constituencies. All India N.R. Congress which is senior partner of BJP in the state has fielded candidates in 16 constituencies while the latter has been contesting election in nine constituencies of the state.
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam—the third partner of alliance—is contesting five seats. Congress heading the Secular Democratic Alliance (SDA) has fielded candidates in 14 seats out of the 15 constituencies allotted.