EC cancels TN Assembly by-poll over use of money power

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 10 Apr 2017 09:26:48


NEW DELHI,

Apr 9,

(PTI),

THE Election Commission (EC) on Sunday night cancelled the April 12 by-poll to the R K Nagar Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu over the use of money power to influence voters.
After several rounds of meeting with Tamil Nadu election officials, the Election Commission decided to rescind the election notification.


It said the by-election will be held in “due course when the vitiating effect created by the distribution of money and gift items to allure the electors...Gets removed with the passage of time”. Sleuths of the Income Tax Investigation wing conducted searches in properties and offices belonging to Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar on Friday across Tamil Nadu. The searches on premises of an associate of Vijayabaskar has revealed routing of Rs 89 crore for ‘distribution to voters’ in R K Nagar Assembly constituency which goes to poll on April 12.
Vijayabaskar is a prominent loyalist of AIADMK (Amma) faction’s candidate T T V Dinakaran.


Vijayabaskar, who is the first State Minister to come under the lens of taxmen, is among the key campaigners in the by-polls.
There were also several complaints of alleged money distribution by AIADMK's Amma faction. The seat fell vacant after the death of the then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on December 5 and the by-poll is being viewed as a battle of prestige for the two factions of the AIADMK.


The AIADMK (Amma) faction is led by V K Sasikala. The other faction is led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam.


On May 27 last, the EC had recommended to the Tamil Nadu Governor to cancel the notification to hold polls to the Arvakurichi and Thanjavur Assembly constituencies following evidence that a large sum of money was used to influence the voters there. Tamil Nadu had gone for Assembly polls on May 16 last year after which the AIADMK returned to power for a second consecutive term. The EC had used its constitutional powers in March 2012 recommending to the President cancellation of the notification for a RS biennial election from Jharkhand even after the polling had concluded after it found that money was used to influence voters.