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'Vote and have free butter dosa': Bengaluru eateries do their bit to increase voter turnout

'Vote and have free butter dosa': Bengaluru eateries do their bit to increase voter turnout
Long queues were seen outside various restaurants in the city on Friday after they offered free dosas, laddu, coffee and other food items for free or at discounted rates to customers who cast their vote in the Lok Sabha polls on Friday. Many restaurants affiliated to Bruhath Bangalore Hotels Association (BBHA) have come up with this innovative idea to encourage voting in the IT city.

Some of them are offering food either for free or at a discounted price to those who vote in the Lok Sabha elections. Karnataka's 14 out of 28 constituencies are voting today for the Lok Sabha elections, with the Bangalore South, Central, North and Rural contituencies being among them.

The Nisarga Grand Hotel on Nrupatunga Road here gave free "benne" (butter) dosa, laddu and juice to customers who showed their "inked fingers" on voting day under the 'Vote Maadi, Oota Maadi' (cast your vote and have food) campaign. Citing that in the previous Lok Sabha polls, the voter turnout in Bengaluru was only 54 per cent (much below average), BBHA President PC Rao said that though the city had a good number of educated and young voters, it had posted "very less percentage".

"So, we announced this innovative idea. This doesn't mean that people in Bengaluru don't have money. They have enough money but people still don't come out to vote. So, we (some) hotels are giving free food or coffee while others are giving food at discounted price -- 20 or 30 per cent," he told PTI.

After visiting the Nisarga Grand Hotel, he said around 2,000 people had free "benne" dosas, laddu and juice as part of the initiative. "It's a very good initiative. We have got a good response. People come from places like Kengeri, BTM Layout. They were very happy. Each customer who voted was given a benne dosa, laddu and juice here.

We just wanted people to go out and vote for whichever party they wanted. In the morning hours, there was heavy rush and now slowly people are coming since polling is till 6 pm," he said. Many bars will also be giving food at discounted rates on Saturday as part of the campaign since they were closed on polling day as it was a dry day, he said.

Polling began at 7 am and will end at 6 pm. A total of 247 candidates -- 226 men and 21 women -- are in the fray for the first phase in 14 segments covering most of the southern and coastal districts, where more than 2.88 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in 30,602 polling stations.

The 14 segments going to the polls in the first phase are Udupi-Chikmagalur, Hassan, Dakshina Kannada, Chitradurga, Tumkur, Mandya, Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Bangalore Rural, Bangalore North, Bangalore Central, Bangalore South, Chikkaballapur and Kolar.

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