“Accepting cash or gifts or giving cash and gifts to voters is punishable”
: Members of the Forum for Electoral Integrity, an umbrella organisation comprising retired civil servants and non-governmental organisations, staged a demonstration in front of the railway station here on Saturday to create an awareness among voters of the need to cast their votes without fail and without any fear.
They also said that accepting cash or gifts in any form or giving cash and gifts to voters is a punishable offence.
The forum has been instrumental in spreading an awareness among the common man of the potential dangers in accepting cash for votes and how it actually gives a sort of a chance for the rulers to indulge in corrupt practices.
The Tamil Nadu electorate has an onerous task on their shoulders to erase the bad name that the State has earned in the recent past of “cash for votes as a way of life” in the region by casting votes according to their conscience.
The speakers in the meeting said that all eligible voters should exercise their franchise without fail and should also have the resolve to say that “votes are not for sale.” Asked whether the forum would take the message to political parties also, they said that as of now the focus was on people or the electorate. The forum will be spreading these messages across the city at important places where general public gather in large numbers.
Notices, pamphlets and stickers highlighting the need to vote and saying no to cash for votes would be distributed in huge numbers. The forum appreciated Madurai Collector for his committed efforts to strengthen the basic democratic right of voting and condemned the attempts to falsely implicate him in a controversy.