This election, Andhra Pradesh holds the distinction of voting as one state for two assemblies. On the verge of division, the state has scored other distinctions – most being dubious – in the last legs of campaigning for April 30 and May 7 voting.
As of Tuesday, Rs. 127 crore unaccounted cash was seized, some of it from candidates themselves and their relatives. This is estimated to be 60% of the total seizure across the country.
Across Telangana and Seemandhra, 4.73 lakh litres of alcohol was seized, with multitudes of that number having been consumed or distributed unknown. No wonder then, an NGO on Monday asked the Election Commission to arrange for breath analysers at every polling booth to ensure no voter exercised his franchise under the influence of liquor.
“We cannot drive a vehicle when we are drunk, then how can we allow a drunkard to choose as to who drives this country,” said Jerusalem Mutthaiah, representing the Christian rights organisation. “Every party is luring the voter with alcohol. This is mockery of democracy.” EC officials tucked the memo somewhere in the files, but could not agree more.
Drunken men and women dancing at election rallies is a common sight. And liquor bottles are being fished out from wells, ponds and ploughed out of fields. “As we increase surveillance, candidates find innovative ways to conceal the lure,” said one official.
Ambulances, bank ATM cash vans and even police vehicles are suspected to be carrying money across the state and to the voters.
However when they lose, candidates are known to demand their money back from the voters they bribed.