Seizure of cash, liquor and other freebies cross ₹130 crore in nine days of announcement of Telangana Assembly poll schedule

Much higher than the total ₹111 crore seized during 2018 polls and ₹76 crore during 2014 elections 

October 17, 2023 03:31 pm | Updated October 18, 2023 08:28 am IST - HYDERABAD

The election to the Telangana Legislative Assembly is indeed turning out to be a costly affair.

The enforcement agencies that sprung into action since the announcement of Telangana Assembly Election-2023 schedule on October 9 have seized cash, liquor, gold/silver and other valuables worth ₹130.26 crore till Tuesday, the ninth day of announcement of schedule for the forthcoming State Assembly polls due on November 30.

The election authority seized cash, liquor and other materials worth ₹21.84 crore on Tuesday alone indicating the magnitude of the efforts of the political parties to garner votes through distribution of the freebies to allure voters. This takes the total amount of cash seizure to ₹71.55 crore, up ₹12 crore from the total seizures on Monday. Seizure of liquor was 52,091 litres, close to 8,000 litres higher than the previous day indicates the magnitude with which the main contesting parties are trying to influence voters offering allurements.

This in spite of the repeated claims of the Election Commission of India as well as Chief Electoral Officer Vikas Raj on ensuring “inducement free” polls slated on November 30. The seized quantum of drugs/narcotics escalated from ₹2.97 crore on Monday to ₹4.58 crore while gold/silver and other precious metals rose from ₹33.62 crore to ₹40.08 crore, a rise of ₹7 crore on a single day. Other freebies like laptops, rice, sarees, cookers valued at ₹6.89 crore were also seized during the same period, according to the office of the Chief Electoral Officer.

The seizure has been much higher as compared with the previous elections in 2018 when the total unaccounted cash and illegal goods worth about ₹111 crore were seized between October 6 and the election day December 7.

The seizures, including cash and valuables, during the 2014 elections in the erstwhile undivided State were around ₹76 crore. CEO Vikas Raj, in a recent interaction with The Hindu, expressed concern that “so much moving around is something that should not be there”. According to him, the focus should primarily be on enforcement or lack of it. The efforts of the election authority were paying off as could be seen from the way in which violators were being apprehended.

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