Will put off Tamil Nadu poll if bribes continue: EC

Will put off Tamil Nadu poll if bribes continue: EC

"On Sunday, we had warned of stern action if cash or gifts are distributed to voters. If we continue to get complaints of such nature we will either postpone the poll or countermand it after the poll," chief electoral officer (CEO) Praveen Kumar told reporters here.

He, however, declined to name the districts where such violations take place. The CEO said unaccounted cash of Rs.33.11 crore and Rs.12.58 lakh worth of goods were seized till date and 975 cases of illegal gratification have been registered.

Noting it was not possible to put a percentage on the amount seized out of the total that could have been distributed, the open distribution of cash has certainly come down, he said.

Till date eight cases have been lodged against persons who received cash from political parties.

Queried whether corporates are being used to distribute cash, Praveen Kumar said: "We haven't received any such information. But we heard that Speed Post service is being planned to send cash to the voters."

The CEO also said a total of 61,020 cases of violation of the model code of conduct have been registered, out of which over 55,000 are for wall painting.

Praveen Kumar warned television channels chiefs of two years jail terms if they continue to air political propaganda on their media after 5 p.m. Monday when curtains on electioneering came down.

"There is no ban on news. But programmes that are like propaganda are banned. Similarly SMS campaigning is also banned after 5 p.m. today (Monday)," he said.

He said two complaints about paid news against two Tamil publications has been received by the poll panel.

Around 4.71 crore voters to vote at 54,314 polling booths in the polls Wednesday.
Youth in the age group of 19-24 are estimated to comprise 80 lakh of the total electorate, he said.

On the safe custody of electronic voting machines (EVMs) till counting May 13, Praveen Kumar said they would kept in rooms that have only a single door, no other openings and a concrete roof.

He said cameras will be focussed on the door locks of the rooms where the EVMs are kept. However no camera will be kept inside the room focusing the voting machine boxes.
A total of 62,461 voting machine control units and 66,799 voting machines (including stand-by machines) are there for the Tamil Nadu polls, he said.

He said there will be 234 counting centres spread across 91 locations in the state.