With three weeks left for polling, liquor, drugs and money are being used to entice electors in Himachal Pradesh.
After March 5, when the model code of conduct came into force, the Election Commission and other forces have confiscated nearly `1crore cash which has not been accounted for, and a significant amount of liquor and drugs.
Police and squads appointed by the Election Commission have confiscated nearly 10,000L country liquor and 4,300L Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) so far. Teams also seized 270L illicit liquor.
Coming as a surprise to the authorities, the Election Commission’s teams have seized low-cost banned capsules and syrups and high-value drugs, including 168kg poppy husk, 25 kg charas, 800g opium, 20kg of opium dana and 116g heroin.
Election Commission spokesman Neeraj Sharma said the regulatory body had appointed squads across the country to vet the campaigning. However, no FIR has been registered for distribution of cash and illegal inducement in various states yet.
“Police and the EC-appointed squads are keeping a strict vigil and a big amount of liquor and drugs has been seized,” he said.
Referring to the Election Commission’s guidelines, he said any person carrying cash from `50,000 to `10 lakh needed to carry documentary proof regarding its source, while cash more than `10 lakh would be handed over to the nodal officer of the income tax department.
Sharma added, “As nearly three weeks are left for the elections, the quantum of confiscation can see a rise.”
‘Seizures cause for concern’
Head of the political science department at the Himachal Pradesh University Kamal Manohar told HT that the seizure of drugs during elections was “a reason for alarm”. “In Himachal, the trend of freebies was almost negligible, and liquor was the only thing used as an incentive. Now, the confiscation of large amounts of drugs shows that harmful trends are being set in these elections,” he said.