Tamil Nadu: The bypolls scheduled to be held on April12th in RK Nagar Constituency (Chennai) have been cancelled by the Election Commission (EC). An announcement regarding the cancellation was made on Sunday (April 9th), after raids by the Income Tax department were conducted across the state capital. The raids revealed the alleged use of money to buy votes on a large scale. The Election Commission stated that the electoral process was “seriously vitiated” by the misuse of power by political parties involved in the scam.
The IT department conducted raids last week in the offices and other properties of C Vijayabhaskar, Health Minister (Tamil Nadu) on Friday. Proof of routing of amount to the tune of 89 crores to be allegedly distributes to voters in RK Nagar constituency, was said to be found on the premises of one of Vijayabhaskar’s aides. He is a loyalist of TTV Dinakaran.
Among several documents seized during the raids is allegedly a blueprint outlining the strategy of buying votes. The Sasikala faction of AIADMK has denied all allegations of corruption, with TTV Dinakaran condemning the EC’s decision to cancel the elections.
Other complaints received by the Election Commission regarding bribes for votes, included incentives in the form of tokens, coupons of phone recharges, free subscription to newspapers and money transfer (to accounts and wallet payments via mobile numbers). Allegations of bribing voters with money were made against the Amma faction as well.
P Chidambaram questioned the decision of the Election Commission to cancel the bypolls. He asked that if demonetization had brought the circulation of black money to an end, then was the amount found in the raids supposedly white money?
There has been serious contention for the seat in RK Nagar constituency which went vacant in December after Jayalalithaa’s death. Just a couple of days ago, people witnessed the horrific sight of Jayalalithaa’s dummy (placed in an open coffin), being paraded on an open jeep top by O Panneerselvam and faction in the same Constituency (RK Nagar) hoping to get votes. The incident was condemned all across the country, with several asking for strict action to be taken against Panneerselvam and others responsible.
The Election Commission has given no clear dates as to when the elections will be held next, stating only that they will be rescheduled once the investigation process is completed.