On electoral authorities’ direction, police have arrested 22 persons for allegedly making hate speeches during a recent clash between different communities at Mallipattinam in Thanjavur district.

Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar said complaints were received from both sides that hate speeches were made by the other, in connection with the recent clash during electoral campaigning. “Complaints were received from both sides. Totally, 22 persons of Mallipattinam in Thanjavur district have been arrested for making hate speeches and have been remanded,” Mr. Kumar told reporters in Chennai.

He said following some complaints, electoral authorities are keeping a watch on National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) jobs in Tamil Nadu.

There were complaints that workers, who were shown as working on a project in NREGA were not there and were being used for election rallies.

As part of its measure to check influence of money in polls, zonal patrol parties would be pressed into service from April 20.

While every zone would have 10 zonal patrol parties, there are 5,360 zones across Tamil Nadu, Praveen Kumar said. “So far, we have been mainly focussing on money movement, but from April 20 onwards, we will focus on distribution of money to voters,” he said.

The State Election Commission for the first time would send out reminders for voting on April 23 and twice (10 am and 4 pm) on the polling day to over 60,000 mobile phone numbers it has on the database.

The Commission has received over 84,600 calls on violation of Model Code of Conduct in Tamil Nadu, of which 8,895 complaints are registered and 6,612 of them have been disposed.

Replying to a query, the CEO said 9,224 polling booths have been identified as ‘critical’ polling booths.

He said a total cash of 19.26 crore and goods worth Rs 17.84 crore have been seized as accounted without valid documents during raids by election officials.

The CEO earlier released CDs with message from Chess wizard Viswanathan Anand insisting citizens to vote in the upcoming polls in Tamil Nadu.

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