Despite the severe cash crunch brought on by the demonetisation drive, it is business as usual for electoral candidates in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjvur constituency.
Four men — two from the AIADMK and two from the DMK — were detained for attempting to distribute money for vote with a total of Rs 6.49 lakh in cash, which was seized by the Election Commission’s flying squad.
DMK’s Balasubramanian was picked up near the East Gate area on Monday and Rs 88,000 cash was recovered from him, while his party colleague Chakravarthy was detained later with Rs. 44,000. Two others dumped a bundle of notes totalling Rs 1.80 lakh before fleeing.
Another team of the flying squad detained AIADMK’s Thiruchelvan, and a CRPF patrol arrested another party worker, Ilavarasan, on Sunday evening.
Deputy election commissioner Umesh Sinha on Monday warned that the EC would not hesitate to cancel the elections in the Aravakurichi and Thanjavur constituencies and the by-election in the Thiruparankundram constituency if there was substantial evidence of cash for votes.
“We have received general complaints of distribution of cash to the voters. But we have insisted the officials collect specific complaints. If the complaints are genuine, the EC will take appropriate action under the powers vested with it,” Sinha said here after the reviewing poll preparedness in Aravakurichi and Thiruparankundram along with the revenue and police officials of Karur and Madurai districts.
Voting in the two constituencies was suspended during the May assembly elections after a significant amount of money was seized from candidates in both areas amid reports of bribery.
The EC informed the Madras high court on Monday that investigation related to the initial suspension of polls would be concluded within three months.
Recent seizures point to the fact that the “Thirumangalam formula” — as the practice of handing out cash for votes became known after its use by infamous former DMK strongman M Alagiri — hasn’t been hampered by the demonetisation.