MANGALURU: During election time, politicians, especially candidates do not miss any opportunity of attending weddings, birthday parties or any other events as it provides them a chance to connect with the voters. However, not this time around. With the Election Commission going on a overdrive to foil any bid to bribe voters, the organisers are refraining from inviting politicians to weddings and other gatherings as they think it would be akin to inviting trouble from the election officials.
Sources said the EC is keeping a close watch on weddings and other ceremonies in which politicians are also guests. The premises of few events attended by politicians were also checked for freebies and excess liquor. This news spread via word of mouth across Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, following which many organisers are hesitating to invite politicians to their functions.
A family in Palimaru village in Udupi district had to take a tough decision of not reminding a senior politician who is close to the family about the wedding of their family member held during last weekend. "He (the politician) had asked me to remind him about the wedding a day in advance when I invited him a month ago. But we were forced not to call him as we did not want to attract the wrath of election officials. Their (EC officials) entry will spoil the party," said an organiser who did not want to be named.
Congress MLC Ivan D'Souza also appears to have felt the heat in of EC in this regard. He said organisers of weddings are not inviting politicians allegedly due to the instructions of the EC. "Not just weddings, people are keeping us away from religious events and other social gatherings as well. This kind of rule figures nowhere in the election model code of conduct. Let them show me if there is any such rule," he said.
Liquor consumption is common during Roce, a ritual held normally on the previous night of Catholic weddings in the region. But due to fear of EC raids, some families are forced to do away with liquor during such ceremony. The organisers of Palimaru Wedding said though they tried to get CL-5 licence which is required to stock more liquor for such functions, obtaining it was not easy. "After two unsuccessful visits to Excise Office for the license, we decided not to serve liquor. This left most of our guest disappointed," he added.
Echoing similar feelings, Ivan D'Souza said one needs to visit three places to get CL-5 license and there is no single-window agency to get it without any fuss. However, Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner Sasikanth Senthil said they have no intention of bothering private events but have to act if they get specific complaints. He maintained that liquor raids on wedding parties have nothing to do with election MCC and the Excise department is just enforcing the law.