BENGALURU: With balloting just hours away in Sindagi and Hanagal, it is no surprise that cash bags have arrived, and distribution of money is in full swing. The cash volume is estimated to be about Rs 50-60 crore in each constituency.
Sources at ground zero report that money is flowing into some parts of the constituencies, and is a mere drizzle in other parts. Distribution was taken up by influential party functionaries operating in and around the constituencies, sources confirmed. Since bank transactions and withdrawal of large amounts are monitored, the cash is sourced from local businessmen and contractors.
One party has reportedly distributed about Rs 30-40 crore in each constituency, while another party has given away around Rs 10 crore. Source say that one national party has divided its voters into three categories: A, B and C. Voters who are least likely to vote for the party figure in category ‘A’ and are being paid Rs 3,000-plus per vote, category ‘B’ are not traditional voters and the rate is Rs 2,500-plus per vote, while traditional voters are being paid Rs 1,500-2,000. Some large families have reportedly made a bonanza of Rs 25,000-30,000.
It’s a sweat deal not only for voters, but for party workers as well, who are carrying home a precious booty after a fortnight of hard labour. Some workers who switched sides received up to Rs 1 lakh for their work.
CEO Election Commission Manoj Kumar Meena, who took over from former CEO Sanjeev Kumar, instructed officers and staff on ground zero to maintain strict vigil and surveillance. One official said they had stepped up vigil from Thursday.
Meanwhile, Janata Dal Secular leader H D Kumaraswamy told The New Indian Express that distribution of money had started, with at least Rs 30-50 crore changing hands in each constituency. He alleged that certain senior ministers were camping in resorts close by, and are part of the “distribution racket”. A contractor said to be close to one party was raided, and sources recalled that more than 60 raids were conducted during the 2018 and 2019 elections.