Allegations of money distribution and malpractices marked the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections which began here on Sunday.

The situation in the Kottigapalya ward in Sunkadakatte was tense following a war of words between the Janata Dal (Secular) party workers and the BJP supporters.

The Janata Dal (secular) party workers objected to the campaign by BJP MLA M. Srinivas, whose son S. Venkatesh Babu is contesting on the BJP ticket. The Janata Dal (S) party workers accused Mr. Srinivas of campaigning within 100 meters of the polling station and distributing money.

Denying the allegation of distributing money, Mr. Srinivas said he had every right to campaign for his son. The police had to cane the supporters of the two parties and disperse the crowd gathered at the polling booth.

Cricketer and Janata Dal (Secular) party worker Dodda Ganesh’s wife Neeth protested against alleged distribution of money by supporters of Congress candidate Asha Satish in HMT Layout ward. Mr. Dodda Ganesh alleged that the Congress party workers have been distributing money and alcohol for the last three days. "We raided a house of a Congress activist and found money. On Sunday the distribution of money was rampant and is happening in open in our ward. The jurisdictional returning officer is not receiving our calls," Mr. Ganesh said.

A 65-year-old man Kempaiah died of heart attack after he came to vote in Vrushabhavati Nagar in Mahalakshmi Layout. Kempaiah had been standing in the queue for a long time. He was told by the polling agents that his name does not figure in the voters list. While returning from the polling station, Kempaiah collapsed. Kempaiah died before he could reach the nearby hospital.

Fake Voters

The police continue to catch persons allegedly involved in impersonating persons in the voters list. Six persons, including a woman, were taken into custody by the J.C. Nagar for allegedly using fake voter identity cards in J.C. Nagar. "There have been several instances. We have so far arrested 30 persons allegedly involved in such an activity," said Police Commissioner Shankar M. Bidari.

Mr. Bidari said the polling so far have been peaceful. Dismissing allegations of police favouring a party, Mr. Bidari said "Last night I received a call from a political leader that a police head constable was campaigning for his brother, who was a candidate. After ascertaining the fact I immediately took action to shift the head constable. We are committed towards conducting elections in fair manner," Mr. Bidari said.

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