Congress files complaint with EC against BJP’s Sira candidate alleging cash-for-vote

The Congress alleged that distribution of money and liquor to voters has been rampant and that the BJP has “distributed money to over one lakh voters”.
Sira constituency
Sira constituency
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The Karnataka Congress has filed a complaint with the Chief Election Commissioner alleging that Rajesh Gowda, the BJP’s candidate for the Sira bye-elections along with BJP leaders, has been indulging in corrupt practices to influence voters ahead of the polls. KPCC Working President Saleem Ahmed, on Tuesday, filed the complaint after a video of a man, purported to be a BJP party worker, offering cash for votes went viral.

A man wearing a saffron scarf, is seen addressing a group of women and asking them to vote for the BJP. He also offers them money, alleging that Hassan BJP MLA Preetham Gowda has instructed him to distribute money. The incident occurred in Tumakuru district’s Chitratahalli, which comes under the Sira constituency, where bye-polls are slated to be held on November 3. 

“Our MLA Preetham Gowda has instructed us to give all of you money as an offering. He has asked us to give Rs 200 to each of you today and also give more money in the coming days and also give you money and other valuable things just before the election,” the party worker can be heard saying. 

The man goes on to explain that voting for the BJP would be beneficial for the constituents of Sira as electing an MLA from an opposition party would mean that no funds would be sanctioned for developmental works. “At present, the BJP government is ruling the state and if in the present election the BJP MLA is elected, he will be able to solve your problems. This is because any other party candidate will be sitting in the opposition and no money will be released to the constituency by the state government if an opposition leader is elected,” the party worker states.

Another video, along with the one that went viral, was released by the Karnataka Congress on Tuesday, where men, purported to be BJP party workers, can be seen distributing cash to the women. The money was seen to be given along with the “harashina-kunkuma” ritual, which is practised by Hindus, where women are offered vermillion and turmeric along with a token, after offering prayers to a deity. In this instance, the token allegedly was Rs 200 for each woman. 

The Congress alleged that distribution of money and liquor to voters has been rampant and that the BJP has “distributed money to over one lakh voters”. 

“The distribution of money is continuing unabated and more than one lakh voters have been given the money. The money distributed so far (in Sira constituency) would cross Rs 2 crore,” the Congress’ complaint to the Election Commission reads. 

The party also called for an FIR against BJP leaders and the disqualification of the BJP candidate Rajesh Gowda. 

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