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Only a few are caught, it does not mean that the others are pious’

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Vijaykumar Patil
Promising freebies in manifestos is a corrupt practice: Left leader
Congress told to learn from the manifestos of Nehru and Indira
‘All parties treat voters as puppets and exploit them with gifts’

The Congress promise of colour TV sets (for below poverty line families), 25 kg of rice at Rs. 2 a kg and extension of the Yeshasvini health insurance scheme to all families holding green cards is being viewed as yet another corrupt practice but in disguise.
This action has invited criticism from a cross-section of society.
The latest cases of violations of the Model Code of Conduct where the State Election Commission authorities have reportedly seized more than Rs. 3 crore and served notice on a former Minister in Mandya and sari loads in Davangere and Channapatna purportedly meant for distribution among voters on Wednesday provide evidence to what the voters view as corrupt practice.Section 4
“It is indeed a corrupt practice as per Section 4 of the Model Code of Conduct but in disguise, it has been going on since long but only a few are caught, which does not mean that the others are pious,” says a Left leader A.R. Vijaykumar.
Of late, political parties and their candidates have come out with novel ideas to lure the voters and avoid the wrath of the Election Commission.

A former BJP MLA in Mysore reportedly distributed saris in his constituency a few weeks ago, well ahead of the announcement of the elections to the State Assembly.
As the code of conduct was not in force then, the question of its violation did not arise.

The Congress promise of colour TVs is as corrupt as the action of the former BJP MLA from Mysore or the former Minister in Mandya, Mr. Vijaykumar said.
By promising TVs in its manifesto, the Congress has only tried to avoid the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct.

He questioned the silence of the Election Commission and said the latter should take cognisance of reports in the media and seize the Congress manifesto.
The Congress should be asked to withdraw its manifesto and if the party fails to do so, the Election Commission should disqualify all its official candidates from taking part in the elections.
These parties and candidates have only made a mockery of the code of conduct by adopting such techniques to lure the gullible voters.
Suppose if the Congress starts distributing the same TVs now, would it not amount to violation of the code, he asked.
A Kannada poet, K.N. Doddamani, says all parties and a majority of the candidates have been treating voters as puppets and exploiting their precious votes through corrupt electoral practices — luring them with gifts, money, liquor, etc.
Serious issues concerning the electorate, such as price rise of essential commodities and health facilities, shrinking employment opportunities, corruption, lack of basic amenities in villages and the widening gap between the haves and have-nots have taken a back seat.
The one-point programme all parties is to somehow grab power and they prepared to go to any extent to achieve it. No party is an exception to such corrupt practice.
The poor man’s needs pertain to basic things such as food, drinking water, shelter, health, good education for their children and employment opportunities but not colour TVs.
When contacted, a senior leader in the Congress was hesitant yet acknowledged that the promise of TVs was corrupt in nature and a departure from the original philosophy behind an election manifesto.

National policies :Today’s Congress leaders should look back at the party’s manifestos announced by the former Prime Ministers Late Jawaharlal Nehru and Late Indira Gandhi, which spoke on national policies and objectives rather on such freebies.
By promising TVs, the Congress has only made a mockery of the party’s glorious past, he remarked but requested anonymity.

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