Campaign remains low-key, but ‘true expenditure shoots up’

Karnataka Bureau

BANGALORE: There is something highly deceptive about the ensuing by-elections to the eight Assembly constituencies in the State scheduled for December 27. The campaigning by all the major political parties appears to be low profile as the streets and road intersections in these constituencies are devoid of banners, buntings and cut-outs unlike the earlier by-elections which were marked by extravaganza.

There is little evidence of election atmosphere in the constituencies going to the polls. Even the omnipresent autorickshaws fitted with loudspeakers that blare the virtues of candidates are rare. But the campaign managers of political parties admit in private that the “true” election expenses have increased by several folds when compared with the earlier elections.

The high stakes involved for various political parties is being cited as the main reason for the poll expenses shooting up. Obviously, a large sum of money is going towards luring voters. However, the poll publicity material of parties and candidates is conspicuous by its absence due to the vigil kept by the Election Commission officials.

Allegations of distribution of money and liquor are flying thick and fast in Madhugiri, which is witnessing a fierce electoral battle with former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s wife Anitha Kumaraswamy taking on former Minister C. Chennigappa. Some of the TV channels have carried reports referring to the alleged unethical efforts to lure voters in this constituency.

There is deafening silence in Maddur town, located on Bangalore-Mysore Highway, as no motor vehicle fitted with megaphones and speakers is doing the rounds to draw the attention of the voters. Political leaders here are also cautioning their supporters against following them in cars and other vehicles as it could draw the attention of the election authorities.

The Election Commission has posted observers for each constituency to keep a watch on violation of poll norms.

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