Voters in Tamil Nadu enjoyed the freebies of the DMK government, but voted it out of power, negating all talks of the ruling party sailing through the polls on the strength of “bribes for votes”.
Doles apart, the DMK has been accused of paying cash to voters ahead of elections. The direct bribing method has been termed the ‘Tirumangalam formula’ in a reference to its implementation in a 2009 by-election for the assembly constituency near Madurai.
Election commission’s tough measures kept a check on flow of “bribe money for voters”. In the run-up to the polls, Rs 60 crore was seized and income tax officials were roped in to keep a watch over poll expenditure.
Incidentally, these measures had drawn sharp comments from outgoing chief minister M Karunanidhi. He said Tamil Nadu was under emergency-like conditions.
This campaign against money power got a boost by NGOs, which evolved a system of alerts to the commission.
The campaign in Madurai earned so much praise that U Sahayam, Madurai district collector, and other officials became heroes who gave confidence to the people to vote fearlessly.