Tamil Nadu voters have been bribed in the past too

Bribes have been paid in the past too, with the voters being paid as much as Rs 5,000 in Thirumangalam in 2009

GN Bureau | April 10, 2017


#Cash for votes   #RK Nagar Bypolls   #Tamil Nadu   #Election Commission  
Representational image
Representational image

The Election Commission of India has cancelled the RK Nagar by poll in Tamil Nadu, a state where political parties have bribed voters in the past too.

The poll panel order clearly states that the atmosphere in the constituency has been “seriously vitiated on account of unlawful activities of the candidates and political parties and their workers by bribing the electors and unlawfully inducing them by offering money and other gifts of consumable items to woo them in their favour”.

It is not the first time that bribes have been paid to voters in Tamil Nadu. A WikiLeaks cable talks of Rs 5,000 being paid to each voter in Thirumangalam election by the DMK.

It gained so much political notoriety that it is now referred to as the Thirumangalam formula to win elections.

The modus operandi for cash distribution adopted by the DMK in Thirumangalam is quite simple: “Rather than using the traditional practice of handing cash to voters in the middle of the night, in Thirumangalam, the DMK distributed money to every person on the voting roll in envelopes inserted in their morning newspapers. In addition to the money, the envelopes contained the DMK ‘voting slip' which instructed the recipient for whom they should vote”, said an article in the Hindu.

What is quite worrying is that voters were bribed in RK Nagar despite demonetization, which promised to end black money. Notebandi does not seem have had any effect towards cleansing the system as politicians still managed to circumvent the system and distribute money.

The election commission late on Sunday said that the election law seriously frowns upon the acts of ‘bribery’ at elections and those indulging in such acts are visited with severe penalties under the law. The ‘bribery’ at elections to any person with the object of inducing him or any other person to exercise any electoral right or, even inducing or attempting to induce any person to exercise any such right, is an electoral offence under section 171B of the Indian Penal Code, and is punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term extending upto one year or, with fine, or with both.

“Having regard to the above constitutional and legal position enjoining upon the Commission the duty of conducting free and fair elections and upholding the purity of election and after taking into account all relevant facts and circumstances of the present case, the Commission is fully satisfied that the current electoral process in Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly Constituency in Tamil Nadu has been seriously vitiated on account of unlawful activities of the candidates and political parties and their workers by bribing the electors and unlawfully inducing them by offering money and other gifts of consumable items to woo them in their favour.”

Read: Election Commission of India order


In May last year during the Tamil Nadu polls, the election commission had seized about Rs 100 crore in cash. It was an effort to cleanse the system and the election observers had kept an eagle eye. Yet, that has not deterred the politicians from still trying to bribe the voters this time around too.

Read: Tamil Nadu Polls: Cash flow difficulties


 

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