KOLKATA: As the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections got underway in West Bengal on Monday, the ruling Trinamool Congress offered free 'soft drinks' to the voters in an area under the Sreerampur Lok Sabha constituency. The party had tried similar tactics in the previous phases too.
Trinamool workers were seen distributing cold drinks to the people enroute the polling stations. Local party leaders cited the unbearable heat as the reason behind the kind act, while the opposition parties alleged that Trinamool workers were trying to lure the voters.
Earlier, in north Bengal's Raiganj parliamentary constituency, which voted in the second phase on April 18, some voters in the Islampur Assembly segment were given Rs 30 each a day before the elections. Trinamool workers went door-to-door to give the money in Malitola village.
"We were given Rs 30 to drink tea and buy snacks for our children. They also told us to vote for Trinamool," a woman had said.
A local Trinamool leader, however, had claimed that he gave the money from his own pocket and not on behalf of the party.
In Balurghat which went to the polls in the third phase on April 23, the Trinamool had allegedly asked a 'jhaal muri'(puffed rice) seller to sit near a booth in Rabindra Nagar and offer the snack to the voters for free.
BJP's Balurghat candidate Sukanta Majumdar had to ask the old man sitting with puffed rice to move to a distance so that no one was influenced.