For the first time in Karnataka’s electoral politics, an element of sleaze-a CD and MMS clips of an alleged romp-has crept into an election campaign. This is proving to be a major source of embarrassment for Congress candidate B.V. Naik, who is contesting the byelection to Devadurga, 450 km north of the state capital.
The eight-minute-long CD and MMS clips are circulating among voters even as campaigning gains momentum for the assembly by-elections scheduled for December 27. “The visuals are manipulated and morphed. My opponent (BJP candidate K. Shivanagouda Naik) is doing this to tarnish my image, but I am confident that such cheap election gimmicks will not influence voters,” BV Naik told HT.
Interestingly, the two rivals are related. BV Naik is K Shivanagouda Naik’s maternal uncle. In May, the latter, contesting on a Janata Dal (Secular) ticket, had defeated his grandfather and BV Naik’s father, A Venkatesh Naik, but soon quit his party to join CM BS Yeddyurappa’s Cabinet.
B.V. Naik has decided against lodging an official complaint. So, senior leaders of the district and state unit of the Congress have decided to keep quiet.
On their part, BJP leaders deny any hand in circulating the CDs and the MMS clips. “Some people within the Congress are responsible as they are upset that the party did not pay heed to their pleas not to give the ticket to BV Naik,” a senior BJP leader said.
“It is a fact that Congress is our main rival in this constituency, but we are confident of winning on the basis of our performance...,” says Manohar Maski, MLC, district unit President and head of the BJP’s campaign committee in Devadurga.