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Panel urged to look into complaints

By Our Special Correspondent

HUBLI, APRIL 24. The President of the Bharatiya Janata Party, M. Venkaiah Naidu, today described as serious the reports of malfunctioning electronic voting machines and the allegation that a large number of names were missing from voters' lists.

Replying to questions from presspersons here, Mr. Naidu hoped that the Election Commission would look into the matter and take corrective action before the next phase of polling.

On the prospects of the party in the Lok Sabha elections, Mr. Naidu was confident that the National Democratic Alliance would get a comfortable majority. He hoped that the BJP would "hit a double century," and the NDA a "triple century." The Congress would not be able to cross the century mark, he said.

"We are more interested in the outcome of the poll than the opinion poll," Mr. Naidu said when asked about the projections of the opinion polls. He was not willing to say to what extent the polls conducted by the different agencies were independent efforts. It was, however, the Congress, which once said that the all opinion polls were motivated. However, it was now trumpeting the finding of one opinion poll that the party would do well. His party had no plans to propose any law to regulate opinion polls if the NDA was voted to power again, Mr. Naidu added.

On the Karnataka situation, he said that the time for change had come, and the BJP was confident of forming the next party government in the State.

On the party's candidate for Chief Minister, Mr. Naidu said that a member of the BJP who had endeavoured to build the party would be chosen. The Congress had not named a candidate for the post, he added.

He denied the allegation made by the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, and others that he had let down Karnataka from where he was elected to the Rajya Sabha.

He said he had done his best to get a good deal for the State and that he chose not to get involved in controversies. He had not neglected Karnataka in the same way as the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, had "disowned" Bellary, Mr. Naidu added.

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