In their last-minute efforts to woo voters, candidates shower freebies

Candidates in the fray for polls to the Eluru Municipal Corporation (EMC) and eight other municipalities in West Godavari district have intensified the campaign as the electioneering is set to end on Friday evening. In the last-minute efforts by candidates to woo voters, distribution of money, liquor and doling out of freebies are said to have become the order of the day.

Ugadi, a boon for candidates

Parties are leaving no stone unturned to make their candidates sail through the polls which are being considered as the ‘semi-finals’ for the general elections. Ugadi festival, falling on March 31, has seemingly come handy for the candidates to reach out to voters with the greetings in their own style. The voters are also finding unexpected visitors at their door steps with sweet boxes and other gifts.

Some candidates are said to be on a spree of showering freebies. Some voters in Bhimavaram reportedly received silver anklets from some candidates. Even as the Model Code of Conduct is in force, candidates are reportedly prepared to shell out Rs. 500 for each vote. And, grapevines suggest it may go up to Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 20,000 in prosperous pockets like Bhimavaram and in wards and divisions where Chairperson or Mayor candidates are in fray. The election workers apparently received Rs. 200 each per day, along with a biryani packet and a liquor bottle from candidates whom they campaigned for.

Major contenders

The election, due for March 30, is in for a straight fight between the YSRC and the TDP, as the Congress remains out of the race, thanks to its failure to field candidates in most divisions. Of the 291 wards and divisions in the eight poll-bound municipalities and the EMC, the Congress could make its presence felt in just 50-odd seats. ‘Real’ issues elude

Meanwhile, realtors, financiers, aqua traders and cable operators are finding their way into most wards and divisions as candidates. The denizens in almost all civic bodies are grappling with bad roads, poor drainage system and inadequate water supply. But, such issues eluded electioneering, which tended to be dominated by caste, money and freebies.