Election Commission officials have seized Rs 95 lakh in cash, 66 litre of liquor valued at Rs 83,000 and 30,000 sarees for violation of the model code of conduct (MCC) in Karnataka’s 15 Assembly segments where by-elections are scheduled for December 5, an official said on Saturday.
“Our flying squads and surveillance teams with the help of the local police have seized Rs 95 lakh in cash, 66 litre of Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL), 30,000 sarees and other materials from political parties, their candidates and agents since November 11 when the poll code was reinforced ahead of the bypolls,” the official said in a statement.
In the last 24 hours, Rs 8 lakh in cash and liquor worth Rs 13,335 were seized from some of the constituencies.
The poll panel has deployed 248 flying squads, 479 surveillance teams and MCC teams to strictly enforce the poll code in all the 15 Assembly segments, including five in Bengaluru, seven in the state’s northwest region and two in the old Mysore region.
In Mysuru, the District Electoral Officer (DEO) seized about 30,000 sarees in 425 plastic bags, intended for distribution to women voters, along with pamphlets containing pictures of former BJP legislator CP Yogeshwar and other ruling party leaders from a godown that was raided in the city’s Hebbal industrial area.
Taking exception to the development, the Congress has written to the EC to initiate appropriate action.
In a letter written to the EC, the Congress has said, “We also request you to kindly direct the respective police to file an FIR against CP Yogeshwar and BJP candidate of Hunsur Assembly Constituency. It is very clearly violating people’s Representative Act 1951, under Section 123(1) read with IPC 171(B), 171(E), 171(F). Therefore an FIR against the said persons should be filed and a strict vigilance must be kept till the elections are over in and around Hunsur Assembly Constituency.”
It further alleged, “The present government is also threatening the poll officers and not allowing them to work freely. It is a very serious concern about free and fair elections in Karnataka. Please take more interest and strict action in conducting bye elections in Karnataka.”
Other than this the EC flying squads have registered 29 FIRs against poll code violators in the last six days.
Though by-elections have been necessitated in 17 Assembly segments following the resignation of their legislators belonging to the Congress (14) and Janata Dal-Secular (3) in July, they are being held in 15 segments as bypolls in two seats have been withheld due to pending court cases.
The bye-elections will be held in Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapura, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijayanagara, Chickballapura, K.R. Pura, Yeshwanthpura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagara, Hosakote, K.R. Pete and Hunsur Assembly segments.
Bypolls in Muski (Raichur district) and R.R. Nagar (Bengaluru southwest) have been withheld due to litigation in the Karnataka High Court over their results in the May 2018 Assembly elections.
The counting of votes will take place on December 9.
“In all, 169 people were detained under the preventive sections of the CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code), 882 arms were deposited, 37 non-bailable warrants were executed and 255 cases booked,” the official said.