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In T.N. by-polls, a trickle down of Rs.1,000, Rs.500 notes

MONEY TRAIL:Policemen checking cars at Aravakurichi, where a bypoll is due on November 19.

MONEY TRAIL:Policemen checking cars at Aravakurichi, where a bypoll is due on November 19.  

The extended deadline for depositing the currency notes has helped the campaigns of political parties

Demonetisation of big currencies was only a blip in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur, now gearing up for deferred polls, and Madurai’s Thiruparan- kundram constituency in Tamil Nadu, where by-elections are due on November 19 — the election funding quickly rebounded after November 9.

In the past decade, elections in the State have witnessed the free flow of Rs. 500 notes, and sometimes, Rs 1,000. The withdrawal of these briefly put the brakes on electioneering in the three constituencies, but the economics of trust kicked in soon.

Poll managers have kept foot soldiers and some sections of voters happy by distributing the demonetised currency notes. Those accepting them reasoned that these could be deposited in banks till December 30. “We were initially taken aback by the demonetisation as we have to take care of the cadres’ daily requirements, hospitality, mobility and street campaigning. However, now, cadres are accepting withdrawn currencies,” a senior DMK functionary said in Thanjavur. “A key expense is payments for hired vehicles, the stage, flag poles and sound systems. However, people are regularly hired by the party. Some were paid in advance or assured that they would be paid later,” said K. Balakumar, an AIADMK functionary from Kancheepuram camping in Thiruparankundram.

Election monitoring officers were collecting inputs on whether political parties were sourcing lower denomination notes from transport operators and milk vendors among other sources.

“We are monitoring the impact of demonetisation. The flow of the scrapped Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes is also monitored,” said an election official in Aravakurichi.

The only visible impact is that there is a marginal reduction in the number of field workers of the two major Dravidian parties.

(Additional reporting

by L. Renganathan in Thanjavur, C. Jaishankar in Karur and Pon Vasanth Arunachalam in Madurai)

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