Bengaluru: Even as wide-ranging allegations abound of money being promised to legislators in Maharashtra, Karnataka is seeing similar allegations of money being offered, but this time, to voters.
Some leaders of the Janata Dal (Secular) have alleged that cash was offered to voters at Bookanakere, the native village of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa (the ‘B’ in his name stands for Bookanakere).
In a leaked viral video, currency notes can be seen being distributed to voters in a village. The video, apparently shot from the top of a building, shows some men handing out cash to people.
The clipping was allegedly taken just a couple of hours before Yediyurappa was set to address a public meeting as part of his election campaign on behalf of BJP candidate and disqualified JD(S) MLA Narayangowda in the same village.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa campaigns for BJP candidate and disqualified JD(S) MLA Narayangowda.
Bookanakere falls under the KR Pet Assembly constituency, which is among the 15 constituencies to see by-elections on December 5.
Allegations of horse-trading have been raised against the BJP in Karnataka ever since 17 MLAs of the Congress and JD(S) abruptly resigned from their memberships in the Assembly, thus, bringing down the coalition government, led by HD Kumaraswamy, in June.
The BJP, which had 105 lawmakers in the 224-member Assembly got adequate numbers to cobble up a majority in the current 208-member House.
All the rebel MLAs were immediately disqualified by the then speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, but the Supreme Court has recently allowed them contest the upcoming by-elections.
Fifteen of the 17 constituencies are headed for bypolls now as the BJP fights to retain all the seats to stay in power (by-elections are yet to be notified for two of the constituencies as these seats have other cases pending in the high court).
With barely 10 days to go for polling, both the Congress and JD(S) have alleged the BJP is offering inducements to voters.
The JD-S had earlier released an audio message of a disqualified MLA, K Sudhakar, in Chikkaballapur, where he is allegedly heard motivating employees of a trust run by his family to work hard for his campaign. He allegedly asked them to get him the address and details of all voters in his constituency so that ‘gifts’ can be sent to them.
Sudhakar has, however, denied that it is his voice and distanced himself from the message shared on social media platforms, including WhatsApp.