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Karnataka bypolls: Allegations of bribery mark last day of campaigning

The last day of public campaigning for the bypolls to Sira and Rajarajeshwarinagar constituencies saw allegations of money distribution to voters, to both entice and keep them away from the polling booths. The BJP and the Congress have been engaged in a bitter war of words over the alleged bribery.

Former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Sunday accused the BJP of transporting cash to Sira, even as the Congress released video tapes purportedly showing BJP workers enticing people to vote for their candidate in R.R. Nagar. Despite the results of the bypolls in Sira and R.R. Nagar not having any consequence for the BJP government, the election is being fought tooth and nail.

“Voter ID cards have been collected in several places where minorities are high in number, and voters have been given money not to vote by BJP workers. In other places, money is being distributed to vote in favour of the BJP. What is the Election Commission doing?” asked D.K. Suresh, MP for Bengaluru Rural, at a press conference. He also released video clips in support of his claims.

In Sira, addressing a rally, Mr. Kumaraswamy alleged that the ruling BJP had transported to the constituency ₹6 crore in cash using a police vehicle. “A police officer told me, but I do not want to reveal his name,” he said. He accused the BJP of offering more than ₹1,500 to entice voters. “But using money power, the BJP cannot win in Sira, like they won in K.R. Pete,” he added.

Meanwhile, former Minister and BJP leader Arvind Limbavali dismissed the allegations and said, “If money is being distributed, the Congress should complain to the Election Commission. Let there be an inquiry.”

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