Speaking at a rally in Belagavi, former BJP minister Ramesh Jarkiholi urged people not to vote for the BJP candidate if they do not give them Rs 6000.
Ramesh Jarkiholi, Karnataka’s former water resources minister, stirred controversy by claiming that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would pay Rs 6,000 per vote for the upcoming assembly elections. He made these remarks at a rally organised by his supporters at Sulebhavi village in Belagavi while attacking Congress MLA Lakshmi Hebbalkar. Lakshmi Hebbalkar represents the Belagavi rural constituency while Jarkiholi represents the Gokak constituency there.
Alleging that Lakshmi Hebbalkar has been distributing gifts to voters in her constituency, Jarkiholi said, “Till now, she must have given kitchen appliances such as cooker and mixer, worth around Rs 1000. She might give another set of gits. Together, all of them may cost around Rs 3000. I urge you not to vote for our candidate if we do not give you Rs 6000.”
The state’s irrigation minister Govind Karjol has denied giving money for votes. He said that there is no place for such things in the BJP. The minister further added, “If one person makes a statement, it is not the statement of the party. It is his opinion.”
Meanwhile, Lakshmi Hebbalkar has responded to the Jakriholi’s claims saying that the Election Commission is watching and that Karnataka has laws. She said, “Bommai sir and Kateel [Karnataka BJP president] are also watching. I have left it up to them on what action should be taken [against Jarkiholi].”
The Congress party has asked the Election Commission to take note of Jakriholi’s remarks. Congress MLA Priyank Kharge said that such statements show the level of corruption in the BJP and asked why the Income Tax department or the Enforcement Directorate is not taking note of this. He further said, “There are two and a half lakh voters. This is not a joke. Isn’t this malpractice? Where is BJP getting all this money from?”
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