Vellore parliamentary constituency polls rescinded

The Election Commission had recommended that the polls in Vellore be cancelled as it received a “highly damaging” report on abuse of money power in the constituency

Updated - August 05, 2019 07:58 am IST

Published - April 16, 2019 08:03 pm IST - NEW DELHI/Madura

Drama artistes dressed as Prime Minister M Narendra Modi and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran relaxing at the BJP office in Coimbatore on Tuesday.

Drama artistes dressed as Prime Minister M Narendra Modi and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran relaxing at the BJP office in Coimbatore on Tuesday.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday rescinded the election to the Vellore Lok Sabha seat based on a recommendation of the Election Commission, following a detailed report on the use of money power to influence voters. The I-T Department had seized ₹11.48 crore from the house of an alleged associate of DMK treasurer Duraimurugan, whose son Kathir Anand is the party candidate for Vellore.

 

The poll panel’s decision, I-T searches at DMK leader Kanimozhi’s hous e in Thoothukudi and police firing at Andipatti in Theni brought campaigning in Tamil Nadu to a dramatic close.

Voting for 38 Lok Sabha constituencies and in bypolls to 18 Assembly seats will take place in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on April 18.

‘Democracy murdered’

DMK treasurer Durai Murugan arrives to address the media in Vellore on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

DMK treasurer Durai Murugan arrives to address the media in Vellore on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

 

On the EC’s decision to countermand the election in Vellore, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said only the erring candidate should have been disqualified instead of cancelling the polls. DMK leader M.K. Stalin termed the decision biased and a “murder of democracy”.

The EC said its recommendation was based on detection of a “systematic design to influence voters”.

“Srinivasan (from whose brother-in-law’s house the money was seized) stated that the cash was meant to influence voters in favour of DMK’s candidate,” the EC said. Documents found with the cash pertained to an institution run by Mr. Anand’s family, exposing the “nexus between the candidate and the sums so found”.

Special Expenditure Observer Madhu Mahajan also filed a report on April 8, stating that such activities came under the ambit of “corrupt practices” under the Representation of the People Act. “The Special Expenditure Observer was of the opinion that the situation is not conducive for the conduct of free and fair elections,” said the EC.

TN Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo also felt the current situation was not conducive for conducting free and fair polls in Vellore.

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