Ahead of the by-elections in 18 assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat in Andhra Pradesh, every village and town in these constituencies is suddenly flush with cash and gifts.
So far, authorities have seized Rs 32 crore of unaccounted cash and valuables worth Rs 10 crore. In addition, officials have also seized 1.74 lakh litres of liquor meant for distribution among voters. With a week still left for the June 12 by-elections, the seizures are likely to go up.
According to political activists, this just proves that the three major parties — Congress, Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress Party — are leaving nothing to chance. Chief electoral officer Bhanwar Lal said this is the biggest seizure in the state during elections, surpassing cash and valuables worth R38 crore seized during the 2009 elections for 42 Lok Sabha and 294 assembly seats.
Nellore district alone accounts for Rs 7 crore of the seized cash, while Rs 6.32 crore has been recovered from Anantapur, where elections are being held for four assembly seats. “We are concerned over the huge flow of cash and liquor ahead of the by-elections,” Lal said.
Election authorities have set up checkposts at all entry points to the constituencies to track cash and valuables. Security personnel are checking vehicles in the convoys of ministers and top leaders of all parties. Even ambulance and OB vans are not spared.
Authorities are also keeping a watch on unusual withdrawal of money from banks and ATMs.