Karnataka sop story: Smart TV box to scented gutka | India News

BENGALURU: Devices from a famous Taiwanese brand that can turn regular TVs into smart ones, sleek wrist watches, digital wall clocks and, sliding right down the consumer product ladder, grocery hampers, chewing tobacco and scented gutka – meet the newest freebies election candidates in Karnataka are, illegally, offering voters.
Police seizures, which began as the model code of conduct came into force, show Karnataka is a step or two ahead of most states when it comes to giving below-the-table incentives to voters.


Venkatesh Kumar, additional chief election officer, Karnataka, told TOI seizures show alongside the new freebies the old faithfuls are also being handed out – cookers, mixers, saris, churidars, dupattas and trousers. Bidar, Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru, and Kalaburagi districts top this inglorious list.
Grocery items among big pre-poll seizures this time: Officials
Police haul of freebies in Shivamogga included grocery hampers of rice and ragi bags, salt and oil packets.
“Grocery items are big among the seizures this time around. Groceries are packed in boxes and kept for distribution across various godowns,” said Venkatesh. Obviously, there are no bills attached. Even Bengaluru district has seen a spike in use of groceries as voter inducements.
Data accessed by TOI show Shivamogga’s freebies include tomato sauce, Google TV boxes, tea bags, and scented tobacco. “We are uncertain if this is going to be used to induce voters or party workers, but hoarding such huge quantities without proper bills is an offence,” Venkatesh told TOI.
A huge consignment of pan masala packets, weighing 4,000kg and worth Rs 10 lakh, was seized in Bidar district. A senior election officer from Bidar said using pan masala as a freebie is unusual. The usual ‘gift’ is clothing.
Chikkballapura police officials have seized 96 expensive watches, costing Rs 24 lakh. “These watches are expensive and not easily available in the city… the cache is linked to an Andhra-based party,” said a police official.
On March 22, police had seized 203kg sandalwood, worth Rs 30 lakh, in Bellary constituency. An FIR has been filed and of the 11 accused, four have been arrested.

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