Candidates feel the pinch as workers ask for more

Candidates feel the pinch as workers ask for more

If anything works in Indian politics with great consistency, it is money. Much like in every constituency, candidates contesting the BBMP polls from wards falling under the neighbouring Vijayanagar and Govindaraj Nagar Assembly constituencies, are losing no opportunity to spend money if they are reasonably sure of votes.

In both these constituencies, people canvassing for candidates ask for a minimum of Rs 350 along with lunch per day as remuneration for their undertaking. “I haven’t seen anyone accepting even Rs 250 per day for canvassing. They ask for Rs 350 to Rs 400. They contend that they have to spend the whole day walking and going around the wards and that it’s hard work,” says Lalitha S, a resident of Maruthi Mandira ward, a person popular with the local residents.

There is also a particular group of about 50 to 75 women who get together to canvass in both Vijayanagar and Govindaraj Nagar constituencies, according to Manjunath Ramesh, a college student who stays close to Maruthi Mandira. “They canvass for all parties. But they split when the vote has to be purchased. They don’t reveal their own political affiliations even as they work for all the parties. They work as a group to make canvassing easy in the area,” says Ramesh.

The candidates have also hired college students for canvassing, paying them about Rs 100 a day. The rate for students is lower when compared to that for others. On Saturday morning, boys on bikes whizzed all around Vijayanagar and Govindaraj Nagar constituencies shouting: “Vande Mataram and Bharath Matha Ki Jai”. The campaign, started around 9 am and went on for the whole day with autorickshaws taking the lead in processions and beaming out loud messages, asking people to vote.

The supporters of Vijayanagar MLA M Krishnappa of the Congress and former minister V Somanna of the BJP are involved in a fierce battle in the two constituencies. The JD(S) is also putting up a good fight in a few wards.