Chief electoral officer Satyabrata Sahoo said his office has not received any communication from the Election Commission of India (ECI) on rescinding polls, following complaints of distribution of cash to voters by parties, in any assembly segment.
Earlier in the day, the ruling AIADMK complained to the chief electoral officer seeking countermanding of polls in five assembly segments, where DMK leaders are contesting. These were Kolathur (DMK president M K Stalin), Chepauk – Triplicane (Udhayanidhi Stalin), Katpadi (general secretary S Durai Murugan), Trichy West (principal secretary K N Nehru) and Tiruvannamalai (former DMK minister E V Velu) where the AIADMK alleged its rival had distributed cash on a large scale to voters.
Live updates: Polling underway in Tamil Nadu
In a counter move, DMK organization secretary R S Bharathi petitioned governor Banwarilal Purohit for permission to file a criminal complaint against chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, deputy CM O Panneerselvam and revenue minister R B Udhayakumar for alienation of 10.5 acres of prime land at Koyambedu in the city.
The governor’s office had just acknowledged the acceptance of the petition but did not issue any direction till late on Monday night.
District administrations and the flying and static squads of the ECI, meanwhile, had a tough time as complaints of voter bribery poured in throughout the day and kept them on tenterhooks. The “cash for votes” ranged from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000 in several constituencies, where top leaders and ministers were contesting.
Sahoo said the elections department had sent reports on seizure of cash and other materials from each constituency/sensitive constituency to the commission. Complaints of voter bribery flew thick and fast, as both the ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK raised alerts throughout the day.
“So far, we have no communication from the commission on that (rescinding polls in select assembly segments). All 234 seats will go to polls between 7am and 7pm,” Sahoo told TOI.
The election control room in the Trichy collectorate received more than 100 complaints. While all the complaints were forwarded to the flying squads, some of the complaints turned out to be fake, said Trichy collector S Dhivyadarshini.
From political parties bribing voters, Tamil Nadu has moved to an even more disturbing trend of people demanding cash for their votes. At Rasipuram constituency in Namakkal district, a group of people protested on the road alleging that they were left out by a political party during the cash distribution exercise in their village the previous day. No case was registered, while the police warned them to disperse.
The flying squad teams and special surveillance teams and other enforcement agencies had seized cash and other materials worth Rs 433.92 crore until Monday. This included, cash seizure of Rs 230.27 crore, liquor worth Rs 5.14 crore, drugs and narcotics worth Rs 2.20 crore and precious metals like gold, silver ornaments worth Rs 176.22 crore, ECI said in a statement.
(With inputs from bureaus in Trichy, Coimbatore and Madurai)