BJP gets into major trouble...Is the party stealing Aadhaar details to add voters?

With ten days ahead of the assembly polls in Puducherry, the Central ruling BJP has got into fresh trouble as the Madras High Court has ordered the Election Commission of India (ECI) to investigate the allegations that the BJP is stealing the details of the voters from their Aadhaar and adding them to the party's WhatsApp group to execute the campaign in the bid to cover their votes. 

BJP has been accused of obtaining the phone numbers of the voters from Aadhaar and reaching them to seek their votes and if the allegations are proven, they would become the intent breach of the privacy policy. The High court's order has come on a petition filed by A Anand, the President of Puducherry DYFI (Democratic Youth Federation of India), who sought action against BJP for targeting voters at the booth level and sending links to them through SMS to join the WhatsApp group of the party. 

In his petition, the DYFI President said that several Puducherry residents have been receiving SMS since March 4 with an invite link to join a WhatsApp group and further stated that he also had received one such message. He added that he clicked on the invite link to ascertain the source of that SMS and the link directs the voters to become a member of the booth-level WhatsApp group of BJP. The residents are receiving SMS based on the constituency and the booth. 

He further said that the BJP had created several WhatsApp groups to target the voters. Likewise, the petitioner said that he clicked the link and it had directed him to a WhatsApp group and added him as a member. In his petition, the DYFI President said that he had asked the admin of the WhatsApp group about how they had obtained his phone number without his knowledge and the admin had told him to approach the Puducherry BJP Office to know more about the SMS or the WhatsApp group. 

The petitioner had then asked the admin why he was added to this group for which the admin had divulged that there are WhatsApp groups for around 952 booths in Puducherry and all the voters are added in the respective WhatsApp groups based on the constituency and booth. He further highlighted that these SMSes and phone calls were being received only to the phone numbers that are linked to the Aadhaar card of the voters. 

By citing that no other political parties have sent links like BJP, the DYFI President has affirmed that the only way the BJP could have obtained the mobile numbers in an unauthorized manner is from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). As the Central ruling party, the BJP had misused its power and reportedly involved in identity theft under section 66 of the Information Technology Act 2000. He further claimed that the BJP has committed the offense with the intention to threaten the security of the country. 

He further indicated that he had filed a complaint with the concerned authorities and he was called by the police for an investigation on March 15 after he filed a complaint and following the police complaint, he had approached the court to seek action against BJP with the view that the polls are fair and transparent. Hearing his petition on Thursday, the High Court bench consists of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy had observed that the allegations made by the petitioner are serious and asked the ECI to file its report on Friday. 

When the hearing came on Friday, the High Court asked why the Puducherry assembly polls should not be deferred till completion of the probe into the allegations that the BJP is illegally using Aadhaar data for campaigning. The court said, "The ECI must keep all political parties in check irrespective of those who are in power and those who are not. We cannot undermine the ECI since it is the institution responsible for the conduct of free and fair polls". By asking why the election in Puducherry should not be deferred till the probe is completed, the bench had then directed the Election Commission of India to continue the inquiry and file a status report on March 31.