BJP in Thrissur accused of resorting to ‘cash for vote’, collector orders inquiry

BJP workers have been accused of distributing Rs 500 each to voters in the Sivaramapuram colony of Olari in the Thrissur Lok Sabha Constituency.
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Amid allegations that workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) distributed Rs 500 each to several voters in Kerala’s Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency, District Collector V R Krishna Teja IAS, has directed the Town West Police to conduct an inquiry into the matter.The order was reportedly issued on Thursday, April 25, a day before the polls in Kerala.  

BJP’s candidate in Thrissur is actor turned politician Suresh Gopi, who is contesting against the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate K Muraleedharan and Left Democratic Front (LDF)’s VS Sunilkumar. Speaking to media persons, Sunilkumar said he had lodged a complaint to the Election Commission of India as well as the police regarding BJP’s alleged cash-for-vote scam. 

As per reports, the alleged money distribution occurred in Sivaramapuram colony in Olari, where up to 121 voters reside. The BJP workers who were distributing the money reportedly left the colony after some residents noticed them and intervened. 

A woman from the colony told the media, “We denied the money, but they insisted that we keep it. They didn’t demand anything. They didn’t ask us to vote for any particular party.”

The residents alleged that those who distributed the money are active workers of the BJP in the village. “He is a BJP worker. We will not vote for them. We don’t know why they gave money to us,” another woman told the media.

Alleging that BJP was violating all election ethics, LDF candidate Sunilkumar said the party can not influence the voters in Thrissur with money. “The people here will not vote for someone who gave them money. The BJP will face backlash for this,” he said, adding that the BJP was trying to manipulate the elections with the money they received from the corporates. 

“The BJP is trying to question the integrity of voters here by giving money. They are trying to bring that freebie culture to Kerala. They should do a self-examination of their actions,” he said.

Sunilkumar also alleged that BJP added the names of several migrant workers to the voter lists in Thrissur to favour their candidate. He said they would challenge this legally.

TN Prathapan, working president of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) and former Member of Parliament (MP), also condemned the BJP’s action and said the party was making efforts to destabilise democracy.

A similar political controversy has erupted in Wayanad after the police on April 24 seized 1,200 packets of food kits, which were suspected to be distributed to the voters to influence their votes. The LDF and UDF have alleged that BJP is behind this move. 

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