Video of women voters being wooed in Sira stirs hornets’ nest

A day after a video clip surfaced, purportedly showing the BJP workers offering money to women voters in Sira for arishina-kumkuma to entice them, the Congress has complained to the Election Commission on malpractices, while the JD(S) has approached the Deputy Commissioner and the police.

In the video, a man is seen telling a group of women that they have been ignored in elections always and they need to change the trend in this polls. He goes on to say that women will be paid ₹200 for arishina-kumkuma immediately, which will be followed by another ₹200 and money on election day.

The Congress on Tuesday petitioned the Election Commission over use of money in the elections by the BJP candidate and sought his disqualification. In a complaint to the EC through the CEO of Karnataka, KPCC working president Saleem Ahmed among others said distribution of money, liquor and other gifts by the BJP was in violation of the provisions under the election code and Indian Penal Code.

The BJP leaders have indulged in corrupt electoral malpractices by distributing money to more than one lakh voters, particularly women, they said. Money amounting to ₹2 crore had been distributed, they said. The agents of the BJP candidate have been giving money to voters at the behest of Pritham Gowda, Hassan city MLA. Tumakuru BJP president Suresh Gowda too has been luring voters through valuable gifts and influencing the results, the Congress alleged.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, referring to the video clip, drew attention to the fact that some women in the group had shouted that they would vote for the JD(S). He accused the BJP of distributing money using “outsiders”. The JD(S) social media in charge also tweeted asking what the Election Commission was doing about the video.

These developments are also being read as an indicator of the election mood, where women are being seen as holding the key. “Though women come in large numbers to vote, it is men who are mostly approached during canvassing. This time, the JD(S) has fielded a woman, the wife of the late legislator B. Sathyanarayana, and women could have sympathy towards her,” said a leader involved in campaigning in Sira. In the times of COVID-19 pandemic, women are also reluctant to step out for canvassing, the source said, adding that their turnout for voting remains crucial.

According to Mr. Kumaraswamy, women are being approached by people from outside the district, and women members of SHGs are being targeted. In several instances, women who have been approached for money, have chased away such persons from villages, and there have been instances of skirmishes, he alleged.

‘Desperate attempt’

However, the BJP has distanced itself from the video clip. “It’s a desperate attempt by the Congress and the JD(S) to find a reason. We have been preparing ourselves in the constituency for nearly two months now. The two parties have raised the money issue to find a reason for their defeat,” said N. Ravikumar, BJP spokesperson.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 4:11:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/video-of-women-voters-being-wooed-in-sira-stirs-hornets-nest/article32958493.ece

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