BENGALURU: With the countdown beginning for the December 10 Legislative Council polls to 25 MLC seats from 20 local body constituencies, the caste and cash factors will most likely influence the outcomes in many seats. Also, some videos of inducements being offered have gone viral on social media.
The Bengaluru Urban seat will be closely watched where an FIR has already been filed against Congress candidate Yousuf Sharief. He is the richest among the 90 candidates in fray across the state with declared assets Rs 1,744 crore. Since the number of voters is low at 2,073, the ‘price’ for each vote may go beyond Rs 1 lakh, sources say.
In Tumakuru, a candidate reached out to the voters with Rs 25,000 per vote, prompting rivals to raise the stakes. Interestingly, a candidate has run into a financial crunch after he got exhausted of cash. He is now trying to raise funds against his immovable properties, sources informed The New Indian Express.
There have also been several claims that a candidate in Mandya gave out up to Rs 75,000 per vote. Interestingly, those who had allegedly received less, made it an issue claiming that the candidate was differentiating between voters. Another candidate in Kolar too had reportedly given Rs 75,000 per vote.
Apart from money, caste is also likely to play a key role as a section of the electorate prefer their community candidates over others. “Since there is a preferential marking of votes, their second option will be those who give cash. If none of the candidates get 50 per cent of the polled votes plus one in the first preferential marking, then the second preferential votes will be taken for counting,” observed Bhanuprakash, a political party worker.
With the Vokkaligara Sangha elections slated to be held on December 12, the community members, mostly gram panchayat members, are likely to come together to vote for their community candidate in the MLC polls too, especially in the Old Mysuru region. “Since we have a lone Vokkaliga candidate, he will be our first preference and the party comes next”, remarked Narase Gowda of JDS.
Interestingly, the BJP candidate in Tumakuru, N Lokesh, a former BBMP corporator, has changed his name to N Lokesh Gowda to identify with the community. The reciprocal effect of other communities getting polarised cannot be ruled out, remarked Hanmath Gowda, a Congress supporter.
Deve Gowda won’t abandon Tumakuru
In order to send a message to the voters that he will not leave them in the lurch after the MLC polls, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda had declared that he will contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls from Tumakuru where he had lost in 2019.