Polls: Candidates count on gods to win loyalty

Candidates contesting the Legislative Council polls on December 10 are said to be engaged in wooing voters with money and gifts. What’s more, a few candidates are distributing silver coins with images of deities or posters of gods so that “god-fearing voters” do not “cheat” after accepting gifts.

BJP candidate for Chitradurga seat K.S. Naveen is said to have distributed to the voters posters with images of Lord Rama and the Rama temple being constructed at Ayodhya. Congress candidate B. Somashekhar has taken exception to the distribution of such posters. In Hassan, the JD(S) leaders are said to have been distributing silver coins with the image of Lord Manjunatha of Dharmasthala.

A party worker, campaigning for a candidate in Hassan, said the coins or posters with images of gods will play a major role in ensuring loyalty of voters. “If they make a promise to vote for a particular candidate after accepting such gifts, they normally do not go against it,” he said.

Cash to voters

Recently, a senior leader of a party is said to have distributed cash to voters in a meeting in Sakaleshpur taluk. The voters were allowed inside the meeting hall only after surrendering their cell phones outside to make sure cash distribution is not caught on camera. While one candidate has started distributing ₹40,000 per voter, another candidate is said to have assured ₹25,000, besides a coupon for a gift.

In Chitradurga, candidates from both the BJP and the Congress are said to have distributed gifts, during familiarisation exercise. Women voters have got sarees, while men were invited for a feast. The cash would be delivered by supporters of candidates on the eve of elections, it is said. “If one party offers ₹40,000, another is expected to increase it by another ₹10,000 per vote,” said a voter in Chitradurga.

Viral clip

An audio clip of a telephonic conversation purportedly of Arsikere JD(S) MLA K.M. Shivalinge Gowda and another person, in which both spoke about cash and other offers, has gone viral in Hassan.

One of the speakers in the viral video is heard saying that the party lost the Hassan seat in the last election because it offered only ₹10,000 per vote, while the opposite candidate offered more. This time, the party would be offering cash and a silver coin, one of the speakers is heard stating.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 7:29:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/polls-candidates-count-on-gods-to-win-loyalty/article37889708.ece

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