Opposition parties released a video of BJP workers allegedly promising money to women voters of a village in Sira Assembly constituency. The video, shot late Monday evening, showed an unidentified functionary of BJP assuring Rs 200 each to women for ‘Arishina Kumkuma,’ allegedly on behalf of BJP MLA Preetham Gowda.
The speaker in the video promised to give the same amount of cash on Wednesday and before the bypoll date.
Congress and JD(S) leaders mounted an attack on BJP over the issue, accusing the saffron party of trying to win the byelection by buying votes and filed a complaint with the Election Commission. Gowda, however, denied the allegations, contending that the video was the handiwork of the Opposition Congress.
Multiple videos of alleged bribing of voters in Sira constituency was released by the Congress. While one of the videos shows a speech of a party worker assuring money, Congress workers are seen questioning BJP workers over the alleged assurance in another video.
Soon after the video surfaced, Congress filed a complaint with the Election Commission, demanding that it bar BJP Sira candidate Rajesh Gowda from continuing in the electoral fray.
It submitted a pen drive of videos of the alleged speech, along with a voice recording of BJP Tumakuru president Suresh Gowda, reportedly luring voters “with large amounts of money to each voter.”
JD(S) social media incharge Prathap Kanagal tweeted the video, questioning the delay by the Election Commission in registering a complaint regarding the incident.
“Election Commission officials, who should act against it, are not uttering (a single word). What happened to them? Are they in a slumber or are they in isolation due to Covid-19?” he said.
In a letter to the Election Commission, party legal cell general secretary Pradeep Kumar alleged that BJP was misusing its power and was distributing money, apart from other election code violations.
People who are not residents of the constituency are camping there and are visiting voters’ houses at night to “bribe” them, the complaint said.
When contacted, Gowda alleged that the Congress was behind the video and was trying to defame him.
“Congress workers may have made the speech to show me in poor light,” he said. On whether he would file a complaint if the video was fake, he said such allegations by the Opposition were common in politics and that he would not pursue the matter.