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BJP woos voters with DTH connection
BANGALORE: In the 2006 Tamil Nadu elections’ manifesto, the DMK offered free colour TV sets to poor voters. Raising the stakes is the BJP in Karnataka, as it gets ready to woo voters with inducements which go beyond the traditional.

"We’ve suggested to our leaders to offer Direct To Home (DTH) connections to select residents who have a minimum of five voters in Bangalore Urban constituencies as it would definitely impress young voters who are our base,” said N Harish Kumar, a confidant of a BJP leader.

If that’s a first of sorts, the regular inducements have not been forgotten. Politicians are feeling the pinch of surging gold prices. After money and liquor, gold ornaments are the most popular means to lure voters and that’s leaving candidates worried.

During the assembly elections last year, some candidates in high-profile constituencies bought a minimum of 5-6 kg gold when gold rates ranged between Rs 9 and Rs 10 lakh a kg. Now, they’d have to shell out around Rs 15.2 lakh. A senior Congress leader said: "Earlier, candidates distributed money and liquor to male voters.

Things have changed now. Women expect glittering freebies like nose and finger rings, ear studs, bangles, gold chains and silver anklets as well."

According to him, this is because most women exercise their franchise without succumbing to pressure from their husbands; earlier, sarees and home appliances were in demand. Now, women have realized candidates dupe them by giving cheap sarees or appliances. So, they insist on gold ornaments, a former JD(S) minister said.

Candidates get innovative in selection of gifts, keeping in mind the product which will catch the fancy of each section of society. However, a section of aspiring candidates across party lines defended these tactics to grab votes, claiming they have no choice. "When candidates of other parties tempt voters, why not us," asked an activist of a prominent party.

Following complaints by citizens to electoral officers, the latter have registered complaints against candidates, but to no avail.

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