Mangaluru: Most people from Dakshina Kannada living in Bengaluru and Mumbai, among other places, stand a chance to visit their native place and free transport seems an option. This is thanks to the ‘offer’ by political parties. Members of national political parties have been widely circulating messages on social media platforms requesting non-resident Dakshina Kannadigas to arrive to their respective constituencies and cast their votes.
On the other hand, scores of labourers from North Karnataka, who migrated to various parts of the district, too, have been taken by these parties to their districts. The Election Commission has said the practice is illegal and amounts to legal action.
“The buses are full now. If possible, kindly rent a car and come. We will pay you Rs 5,000,” said Anish, a representative of a national political party working in the Bantwal constituency, when he was told by some sources of some outstation people wanting to come and cast their votes.
The messages circulated on social media asking people who have migrated to other places read, “Dear friends, we have organized buses for you from Bengaluru to Puttur and Bantwal and Belthangady on May 11, and return buses to Bengaluru on May 12. Kindly avail these services and arrive with your families to cast your vote for our party.”
“In order to ensure that our candidate wins with the highest margin, we request you to come down to Bantwal and cast your votes. Buses have been arranged from and to Bengaluru, Mysuru and Mumbai among other places. Please come,” another message read.
A migrant worker from Bagalkote, who resides at Tadambail near Surathkal – the hub of migrant labourers – said most workers like him were going back to their respective places to vote, as buses had been arranged for them.
“We have been assured seats in buses to go and vote and then be dropped back. We will be leaving this evening,” he said. His friend Hanumantha said they have no idea as to who facilitated their travel, but opined that two major political parties had arranged it through agents. “They have told us strictly that no money will be given. However, they may give us a maximum of Rs 500 for food,” he opined.
A few activists alleged that major parties have also offered flight tickets to passengers from Mumbai and Chennai, and have set aside as much as Rs 5 crore for the travel of voters, this was not verifiable.
Violation, says ADC : Vaishali M L, additional deputy commissioner, Dakshina Kannada, said this amounts to violation of the poll code under Representation of the People Act Section 123 (corrupt practices) and IPC Sections 171(b) (bribery) and 171(c) (undue influence at elections). She said police stations will be informed to take stringent action against the guilty