Chhattisgarh Congress candidate named for bribing voters (Lead)

November 7th, 2008 - 9:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyRaipur, Nov 7 (IANS) The police Friday filed a case against senior Congress leader Mahendra Karma, who is contesting from Dantewada in Chhattisgarh, for allegedly offering cash for votes for the Nov 14 polls. Karma denied bribing voters, saying he was only “paying people” hired for election work.The FIR was lodged at Dantewada police station on the instruction of district election officer S.P. Sori.

“We have taken a suo motu cognizance of a media report that he tried to bribe some voters. The FIR has been registered under Section 171(d) of the Indian Penal Code and section 123 (1) of Representation of the People Act,” Sori told IANS by phone.

He said that the police would probe the case and take appropriate action soon.

Karma, a former minister, is Leader of Opposition in the outgoing state assembly.

He is seeking re-election from Dantewada seat and hoping to make it a hat-trick from one of the most insurgency-hit seats in the state.

Meanwhile, Karma said he was “paying money to persons hired for banners and posters (for election work), not for votes as claimed in the media”. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has refused to comment on the matter, saying it was “studying the issue”.

But Manish Kunjam, a senior Communist Party of India state-level leader and party candidate contesting against Karma, said: “I have asked the Election Commission to always keep a person around Karma as he is distributing cash in several villages as a last hope to win the seat, which he is set to lose.”

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