Karnataka polls: Parties using food aggregators, kids to reach freebies?

Candidates in rural areas are planning to use schoolchildren, who are now on summer vacation, for campaigning and distributing cash and freebies to people to vote in their favour. 

Published: 01st April 2023 08:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st April 2023 08:37 AM   |  A+A-

Delivery workers

Image used for illustrative purposes only. (Express Illustrations)

Express News Service

MYSURU: With the model code of conduct coming into force and the Election Commission deploying flying squads and police personnel to stop the supply of liquor, cash, gifts and other goodies to voters ahead of Assembly elections in the state, political parties and candidates are finding innovative ways to hoodwink the authorities.

Candidates in rural areas are planning to use schoolchildren, who are now on summer vacation, for campaigning and distributing cash and freebies to people to vote in their favour. 

“This was tried during the gram panchayat elections in Mysuru district several months ago, where children as young as 10 were given the task of handing over Rs 500 to each person of a family. In return, the children were also paid handsomely for their services. Realising that children would not be caught by police or other authorities, leaders of various parties in villages are planning to misuse them again this time,” said a government school teacher.

This was not restricted just to Mysuru district, politicians in the Old Mysore region, including Mandya and Chamarajanagar districts, used schoolchildren for “election duty”. 

“Agents of politicians pay children Rs 100 for supplying liquor and money to voters in villages,” Chikkanna, a resident of Gundlupet, said.

Politicians in urban areas have found a new way to reach the goodies safely to voters at their doorstep. 
They are planning to make use of food aggregators and delivery apps, pick-up-and-drop service providers to reach gifts and goodies to voters as election authorities usually do not keep a watch on food delivery executives.

‘Liquor with food distributed in Chamundeshwari earlier’

“This was experimented in Chamundeshwari constituency in the past, where liquor was sent along with food through one of our delivery colleagues. He was given an extra tip for the ‘special’ order. Agents of the political leader even took his number for help in future elections. There is a need to keep a tab on such activities as well,” said a food delivery executive.

When deputy commissioner of Mysuru Rajendra was informed about such plans by politicians and their agents, he said the election authorities have already issued an order to ensure that children are not used for any poll-related activities.

“In addition to this, we have booth-level committees to check such violations or misuse of children for such activities,” he added.

On the use of food delivery executives, he said the vigilance team is keeping an eye on all such activities. Whenever such activities are reported, stringent action would be taken.  Licenses of six liquor shops have been cancelled for violations in the district, he added.

India Matters


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