Erode (East) bypoll | 14 unauthorised election offices of DMK, AIADMK sealed, more to follow

The move follows a complaint the AIADMK had lodged stating that the DMK had erected temporary offices where voters were confined all day; 10 offices of the DMK and four of the AIADMK were sealed on Thursday

Updated - February 17, 2023 12:22 pm IST

Published - February 16, 2023 02:16 pm IST - ERODE

Election officials sealing an unauthorised election office of the DMK in Erode on February 16, 2023

Election officials sealing an unauthorised election office of the DMK in Erode on February 16, 2023 | Photo Credit: GOVARTHAN M

Election officials on Thursday sealed 10 unauthorised election offices of the ruling DMK and four offices of the opposition AIADMK set up in the Erode (East) Assembly constituency, without the obtaining of permission. .

The AIADMK had lodged complaints with the Chief Electoral Officer and the District Election Officer stating that the DMK had erected 120 temporary election offices in the constituency and that electors were being confined to these sheds throughout the day. Former AIADMK Minister C.Ve. Shanmugam had alleged this too, and had also claimed that their democratic right in seeking votes was being curtailed, as they could not meet the electors.

Members of flying surveillance teams (FSTs) inspected all the party offices on Wednesday and found 14 offices including four of AIADMK that had been functioning without obtaining permission. The FSTs lodged complaints with the District Police who registered cases. The Superintendent of Police sent a letter to the Returning Officer for necessary action.

The offices were functioning on vacant plots of land. While eight of these were found functioning under the Karungalpalayam police station limits, one was under the GH police station limits and five were under the Erode South police station limits.

Election officials, accompanied by police and paramilitary personnel, inspected the election offices and asked the people inside to leave the premises. Later, the offices were sealed.

Dispute with officials

AIADMK cadre argued with election officials who came to seal an unauthorised office in Erode on February 16, 2023

AIADMK cadre argued with election officials who came to seal an unauthorised office in Erode on February 16, 2023 | Photo Credit: GOVARTHAN M

At Alamarathukadu, when election officials went to seal the AIADMK office, functionaries and cadre entered into an altercation with officials. They claimed that the DMK had established many unauthorised offices and wanted those offices to be sealed too. Officials said they were initiating action not only against the AIADMK, but also against the DMK. Later, the office was sealed.

Likewise, DMK cadre also opposed the sealing of their offices.

Returning Officer for Erode (East) Assembly constituency and Corporation Commissioner K. Sivakumar on Thursday said more election offices of political parties functioning without permission would be closed.

He told The Hindu that complaints were received regarding the functioning of these offices in the constituency and flying surveillance teams (FSTs) inspected the party offices. “We are in the process of registering a complaint and after the First Information Reports (FIRs) were filed, officials will seal those offices,” he added.

Asked about the AIADMK lodging complaints that electors were being confined to the temporarily erected sheds, Mr. Sivakumar said, “People told the inquiry team that they are voluntarily visiting the offices and no one has forced them to be there.”

He said that meetings were conducted at the offices for which a separate permission needed to be obtained. He clarified that after receiving election-related complaints, actions were taken without bias.

On Thursday, 14 offices functioning without obtaining permission were closed and sealed by election officials in the constituency. 

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