Poll managers get innovative to deceive election officers

Security personnel intercept vehicles for checking near the Bogadi Ring Road on the outskirts of Mysuru on Thursday.

Candidates of political parties and their supporters in the region are finding innovative ways to deceive and hoodwink the election officials in view of the model code of conduct (MCC), which is in force in the wake of the Assembly polls scheduled for May 12.

It is similar to saying in Kannada ‘... rangoli kelage thooriddru’, meaning ‘if one can pass below a mat, the other can pass under a rangoli’. Almost all candidates of prominent political parties have hired experts to manage the polls. They include advocates, auditors, retired government officials, professional event managers and also artistes from various fields. In some cases, government officials in service are also managing the poll campaigning, staying away from the limelight.

A poll manager for a candidate in Nagamangala Assembly constituency in Mandya district said he has a government official who has the experience of managing polls for the past 23 years as an advisor.

“We had a problem in transporting thousands of people from villages to Nagamangala town for a meeting. If we were to use motor vehicles, it would have become expensive. We have to manage all expenses within the limits stipulated by the Election Commission. So, our advisor hinted at using bullock carts as the means of transportation. The carts do not find a place in the EC list of vehicles. Other modes of transportation like motorbikes, cars, autos and vans have ‘scheduled rates’,” he said.

A close associate of a prominent candidate said all ‘materials’, supposed to be distributed among prospective voters have already reached the village level and there are no worries about transporting them now. “Now, as the vigilance has been beefed up at all permanent and temporary check-posts, unless we belong to the ruling party, it is difficult to transport even necessary things. Only a small portion of the materials are being transported from here and there now,” he said.

Another poll manager said vehicles with ‘Media’ and ‘Press’ stickers, especially cars and two-wheelers, manage to escape the eyes of the security personnel. “So, we have identified some vehicles with such stickers for our use. Besides, we have also put up such stickers on our vehicles, for transportation of our ‘materials’,” he said.

“There has been an increase in the sale of liquor since the announcement of the election date. The sales may further go up as the election date nears. However, leaders of all political parties have stocked various varieties of liquor in huge quantities over the past few months, ahead the elections. The supporters of the candidates have also procured liquor from unlicensed suppliers,” said the owner of a liquor shop.

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