EC probing cash-for-votes charge against Shivakumar

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Bengaluru, May 14 (IANS) The Election Commission (EC) has ordered an inquiry into a charge by the BJP that Karnataka Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar distributed cash to voters ahead of the May 19 by-election in the Kundagola Assembly segment in Dharwad, an official said on Tuesday.

“We have asked our District Electoral Officer M. Deepa to inquire into the allegation that the Minister was distributing cash to voters and community leaders,” Karnataka’s Additional Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) K.G. Jagadeesha told IANS here.

In a complaint to the state CEO on Monday, BJP legal cell member M. Vinod Kumar alleged that Shivakumar, staying at Hotel Cotton County near Hubli airport (about 410 km from Bengaluru) and campaigning for Congress candidate Kusumavati Channabasappa, was distributing cash to also local influential leaders to distribute it to the voters ahead of the polling day.

“As the BJP complaint was without audio or video evidence, we have asked the DEO to crosscheck with our flying squads and observers deployed in the Assembly segment to prevent any malpractice or violation of the model code of conduct,” said Jagadeesha.

The party candidate (Kusumavati) is the widow of Congress Minister for Municipalities C.S. Shivalli, whose death on March 22 necessitated the bye-poll.

The BJP had fielded S.I. Chikkanagoudar, who lost to Shivalli by just 633 votes in Assembly elections in May 2018.

–IANS

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