Free Dosa and Data: How Karnataka Voters Were Lured to Get Inked
With less than 40% vote count in the poll bound state till 1 pm and media reports earlier painting a sad picture for India’s Silicon Valley voters, cyber cafes and food joints in Bengaluru are offering attractive discounts to people who exercise their franchise.
Bengaluru: Right from masala dosa to filter coffee, Karnataka’s electoral menu has it all.
With 70% turnout at the end of the day, which is a little less than the 2013 turnout, and media reports painting a sad picture for India’s Silicon Valley voters, cyber cafes and food joints in Bengaluru are offering attractive discounts to people who exercise their franchise.
Nisarga Hotel on Nrupathunga Road in Bengaluru is offering free dosas to the new voters and coffee for everyone with inks on their fingers, indicating their attendance. Owner Krishnaraj, while talking to the media, said that the idea was put forward by some regular young patrons.
Besides restaurants, a cyber cafe in Rajajinagar, Bengaluru is offering free internet access to everyone who votes. The cafe is also offering discount on photocopying.
These outlets have, however, clarified that they aren't supporting any particular party and just want to push youngsters to vote.
According to reports, the officials of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had planned to meet traders, hoteliers, mall and multiplex owners to discuss discounts ahead of the elections, but it was cancelled as the popular move, they thought, would be exploited by political parties to influence voters.
In the past, free dosas in the shape of Kannada letters and requests like 'Nanna matha nanna hakku' (my vote, my right), 'Ellaroo mathadana maadi' (please all of you vote), 'Praja prabhutva bhadrapadisi' (strengthen the democracy) were distributed among voters with an aim to spread awareness about elections.
Another hotel chain Vasudev Adiga in the capital city has also offered free coffee for the voters.
Many NGOs, business organisations and saloons in Bengaluru have also come up with similar offers to attract more voters to the polling booths. They aim at inculcating interest in politics among the youth amid attracting them to the polling booths.
The election in the state has seen a string of interesting instances with regards to polling. While organizations are offering freebies, without supporting any party or candidate, the campaign for Karnataka elections was also marked by innumerable visits to temples and mutts which continued on voting day. BJP leader B Sriramulu, who is challenging Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in Badami seat, was seen performing ‘gau puja’ at his residence before voting.
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