Poll goodies: Parties have their way to reach voters

Police and poll officials inspect a car, intercepted at a checkpost, under Hunsur Assembly segment in Mysuru district, recently. dh photo

The strict enforcement of the model code of conduct (MCC), in view of the bypoll in Hunsur and K R Pet Assembly constituencies, in the region, is evident with the presence of numerous checkposts, set-up on all roads leading to the respective segments.

However, highly-placed sources in all three major parties, contesting the polls, said that they have their own way to hoodwink the MCC. They revealed that the goodies are being safely reached to the voters, to woo them.

Going by official communication, unaccounted cash transported in some vehicles, unaccounted publicity materials, liquor and also gift items such as sarees, with pamphlets, have been seized by conducting several raids. Officials, including police personnel, intercept vehicles randomly and inspect them for any suspicious item. The officials have also cracked upon extravagant public functions and elaborate feasts.

In a conversation, overheard, a few leaders were discussing about the MCC. While one asked, will the officials, who seize the cash and materials, promptly give account of it?, another said, probably yes, because the interception and checking are video recorded. Another person was quick to respond, “What if the video is deleted?”

Then, all three came to an agreement that, if all officials and personnel at a particular checkpost, come to an agreement and collude, they can delete the video and siphon off the seizures, if the victims are not in a position to reclaim them, for want of proper documents.

All eyes on bypoll

Top leaders of all three major political parties, in the fray, in the bypoll, said that this bypoll is different from the general polls, as all eyes are on the limited number of constituencies. A leader, responsible for all poll-related activities in K R Pet segment, said, “Not just in our party, the activities are under scanner of top leaders in all parties. Unlike in general elections, grassroots level leaders cannot siphon off the goodies and cash, meant to be passed on to the voters. Thus, all goodies are reaching all voters, targeted by the respective party,” he said.

A party leader in K R Pet said, the cleansing of the electioneering, set into motion by the late Chief Election Commissioner T N Sheshan, is only superficial, even though it is welcome. “The people of a particular community, in a particular area, want to vote for a particular party, which is a big shift. However, their demand is that, the particular party should pay at least 50% of the amount that is offered by the remaining two parties. Thus, election is impossible without money. It is a good sign that the expectation of the people has reduced by 50%,” he said.

An auditor and advocate, an expert in filing expenditure of election candidates, said, the permissible expenditure for a Lok Sabha constituency is Rs 70 lakh and Rs 28 lakh for an Assembly segment, for a candidate. “The limit for Assembly segments is still lower in smaller states. But, it is evident that the actual expenditure for any poll is in crores of rupees,” he said.

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