Tamil Nadu

Making and distributing money R.K. Nagar way

Voters say the parties distributed cash outside the constituency so as to evade the EC’s surveillanc

Voters say the parties distributed cash outside the constituency so as to evade the EC’s surveillanc   | Photo Credit: V_GANESAN

EC’s increased surveillance forced parties to think out of the box as they went about bribing voters

The landslide victory of Independent candidate T.T.V. Dhinakaran in Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly constituency, where 57 of the 59 candidates forfeited their deposits, triggered all round allegations of heavy distribution of money to voters to influence their decision.

A visit to the constituency and interactions with a cross-section of voters on Monday revealed that the allegations are not entirely unfounded. Voters, to whom this Correspondent spoke, claimed they were approached by supporters of Mr. Dhinakaran as well as the AIADMK with offers of cash in exchange for votes. The DMK, they claimed, had distributed money to an extent during March-April before the bypoll was rescinded by the Election Commission following unearthing of evidence of alleged attempts by the ruling party (then called AIADMK-Amma) to bribe the voters.

What is interesting is that parties had devised their own strategy to escape from EC’s surveillance like distributing money outside the constituency. “We were asked to come outside the constituency and collect the money. This method became convenient to them after security was stepped up,” a resident of R.K. Nagar said.

Voters in the constituency claim that money was also given in different ways, some in the garb of “work”. “They gave ₹300 for drawing large rangolis of party symbols at the entrance of our homes and ₹200 to throw flower petals on campaigning leaders,” a voter said. Some people, interestingly, “earned’ money this way by drawing rangolis of one party in the morning and another party in the evening.

Many voters who spoke to The Hindu claimed that money from Mr. Dhinakaran’s camp had not reached them yet, although a ₹20 note with a specific serial number identifying each household was given to them to be exchanged for higher sums later — a charge denied by the winning candidate. “The AIADMK distributed money, but Mr. Dhinakaran hasn’t given [money]. Now that the election is over, who is going to keep that promise anyway?” one of them asked.

Some voters who voted for the AIADMK too spoke of money distribution by the ruling party. “They were giving ₹6,000 to each voter. But also left out some sections of voters. This is a poor locality. How can you give money to one section and leave another out?” Hari (name changed) asked.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 9:01:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/making-and-distributing-money-rk-nagar-way/article22278032.ece

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