Cash for votes: TN opposition parties pull up EC, seek CBI probe

  • KV Lakshmana, Hindustan Times, Chennai
  • Updated: May 16, 2016 15:11 IST
Voter queue as they wait to cast their ballots at a polling station in Chennai. (AFP)

Polling in the Thanjavur and Aravakurichi constituencies of Tamil Nadu was put on hold on Monday, following complaints of large amounts of money being distributed among voters.

Even as the electoral exercise was conducted in the state’s remaining 232 constituencies, opposition parties demanded strict action against those attempting to “buy votes”.

Terming it as a serious matter, DMK treasurer MK Stalin sought a CBI probe to identify the people behind the alleged scam. “The central agency must investigate money transfer in all constituencies...” he said.

M Kanimozhi, DMK Rajya Sabha member and party supremo M Karunanidhi’s daughter, also spoke in favour of a probe by the central agency. “Much more should have been done by the Election Commission. It does not seem as if it is instituting a real probe...” Kanimozhi said, emerging from a polling booth. “Only a CBI inquiry can reveal the truth.”

She said the DMK-Congress combine will win on account of the anti-incumbency factor as well as the “hard work” put in by Stalin and other party members over the last six months.

Vaiko, coordinator of the third front in the fray, said the elections should be held again as “money was distributed in all the constituencies” in the state. Accusing the Election Commission of favouring the ruling dispensation, he said there was no credible explanation for the Rs 570 crore recovered from Tirupur.

The third front in the Tamil Nadu elections comprises the People’s Welfare Front, the Tamil Maanila Congress and the Vijayakanth-led Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam.

Anbumani Ramadoss, the Pattali Makkal Katchi’s chief ministerial candidate, accused both the AIADMK and the DMK of distributing cash among the public. “This is why I have demanded that the two parties be disqualified for violation of the model code of conduct,” he said.

Former union finance minister P Chidambaram said postponing polling in the two constituencies was not a good move. “The EC should have countermanded the polls instead of postponing it,” he said.

The AIADMK has been distributing money in all the constituencies, he alleged, adding that the election commission should have done its best to prevent it.

The ruling party, however, remained confident of victory. “In another two days, the verdict will be out and we will emerge victorious,” J Jayalalithaa, AIADMK supremo and state chief minister, told mediapersons.

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