Bengaluru: In a tightly contested triangular fight among the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the dominant regional party – Janata Dal (Secular) in the Assembly elections, more than caste, it is moolah, which will be the driving force. “Each party has reportedly spent around Rs five crore in cash and kind per constituency for distribution to voters by their local area agents during door to door canvassing and while giving polling booth slips," insiders said.
In many places agents have distributed cash along with some religious symbols like arishina, kum kum (turmeric and vermillion) to emotionally blackmail voters. They told voters to take a vow in their God/deity’s name to vote for the candidate and also assured a pilgrimage on the victory of their candidate,” said highly placed sources. “Cash was distributed in the last 48 hours of polling. A couple of months ago political parties distributed kitchen utility items like water filters and pressure cookers to voters so that they remember their benefactors each time they used the appliance,” he added.
According to figures given by the Directorate of Income Tax (Investigation), Karnataka & Goa the DGIT had till May 10 seized Rs 31.50 crore unaccounted cash, which was purportedly meant for distribution for votes. “Since the announcement of the code of conduct on March 27 the department has seized unaccounted cash of Rs 31.50 crore and unexplained jewellery worth Rs 5.83 crore. This is nearly six times the seizure made by the department in the last state assembly election in 2013,” the department said in a statement.
The National President of Swaraj India Yogendra Yadav recently accused the sitting MP from Mandya and JD(S) candidate from Melukote C.S.
Putturaju of using unfair means to allure voters. “Putturaju and his men on April 23 had openly distributed cash. His party men were making packets of Rs 1,000 cash along with the picture of Manjunath Swamy (popular deity) with kumkum for distribution,” alleged Yadav.
Besides cash, the rural diaspora working in cities, which largely constitutes the unorganized sector were on Friday summoned back to their native places to vote by party candidates. “Private transport companies are politically aligned and their buses have been booked much in advance by their parties to ferry the voters back and forth to their polling booths free of cost. Money running into crores of rupees from the contractors and real estate has been pumped in these elections,” said the source....