1.79 lakh cartons of IMFL were sold in April 2013
Even though the Election Commission claimed to have taken steps to prevent candidates from luring voters with alcohol, the whopping increase in liquor sales in Hassan district during the elections seem to show otherwise.
As many as 1,79,935 cartons of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) valued at Rs. 43.21 crore, and 60,911 cartons of beer worth Rs. 5.88 crore were sold in Hassan in April 2013.
In the corresponding period last year, 14,135 cartons of IMFL worth Rs. 31.7 crore and 41,922 cartons of beer worth Rs. 3.82 crore were sold.
The total value of alcoholic drinks sold in 2012 was Rs. 35.53 crore. However, in April 2013, the total value of alcoholic drinks sold was Rs. 49.03 crore. Even in May, the department recorded sales of 30,429 cartons of IMFL and 8,163 cartons of beer (up to May 7) worth Rs. 7.84 crore.
The Election Commission had set up check-posts and deployed flying squads to check transport of liquor. The district administration had seized 2,218.76 litres of liquor valued at Rs. 10.37 lakh.
Additional Deputy Commissioner H.N. Gopala Krishna said: “The increase in liquor sales makes us suspect that alcohol was used extensively during electioneering despite our measures to curb it.”
There were also reports of cash being distributed to woo voters in many parts of Hassan district. A couple of candidates admitted to distributing cash to voters. However, the district administration has not been able to seize unaccounted cash. “There were clear instructions from the Election Commission not to harass the public unnecessarily. Our staff sought valid records and took action on verifying them,” Dr. Gopala Krishna said.
“[Even now] We heard that cash was distributed in the last two days before polling,” he said.