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From Cash to Smartphones, Parties Dole Out Goodies to Capture Votes

Published: 27th December 2015 04:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th December 2015 04:23 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU:  Even as the 25 seats of Legislative Council from local body constituencies are going for polls on Sunday, reports of all three major political parties luring voters with money and costly gifts kept trickling in from across the state till late on Saturday night.

The house of former minister and BJP senior leader Revu Naik Belamagi was searched in Kalaburagi on Saturday by the vigilance wing of the election branch of the district administration for allegedly distributing money to gram panchayat members who constitute a majority of the electorate in these elections.

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Belamagi allegedly was caught on camera distributing money in packets in a sting operation carried out by a Kannada news channel. The channel claimed Naik was distributing `20,000 each to the members on behalf of party candidate and industrialist B G Patil. However, no case has been filed against him as the search did not yield any cash or gift items from his residence .

In Hassan, Animal Husbandry Minister A Manju accused former minister H D Revanna of JD(S) of taking gram panchayat members of Holenarasipur constituency in the district to Dharmasthala and making them swear on God that they will vote only for JD(S).

On Friday, a complaint was lodged with the Election Commission against Congress candidate from Bengaluru Urban constituency M Narayanaswamy for making members of gram panchayat swear on God.

There were many such reports during the 15 days of campaigning. Apart from the usual blame game, all political parties allegedly splurged to woo the voters.  According to some reports, the price of each vote ranged from Rs15,000 to Rs25,000 in backward North Karnataka districts to Rs 25,000 to Rs 70,000 in wealthy districts like Bengaluru and Mysuru. Sarees for women voters and watches for men were top-ups.

Those who did not accept cash were allegedly given smartphones, watches, gold chains, electronic goods, etc. Ironically, all the voters in this election are elected representatives.



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