Power cuts a way to give money, fears EC

Power cuts a way to give money, fears EC

Frequent power cuts during night across Tamil Nadu has irked the Election Commission (EC), which fears mass money distribution by various political parties to bribe voters.

With the seizure of unaccounted money touching Rs 100 crore since the Model Code of Conduct was implemented in the state, political parties especially the Opposition DMK claim that power cuts were deliberate since money could be easily handed out to voters in the dark.

The EC has sought a report from the state energy department and the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board on the reasons for power cuts especially in Chennai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Madurai and other cities.

The commission also gave standing instructions to the power board to ensure uninterrupted electricity in the night till the election process is over. In addition, the ECI inducted 5,644 additional flying squads to monitor flow of illegal money ahead of the May 16 Assembly polls.

Though the electricity board officials claim that outage was due to overloading and not a deliberate act, the EC told the power department to keep all the equipment ready in case of power failure.

Apart from important cities, the EC has deployed more than 1,000 flying squads in the western belt of the state including Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Salem, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts.

Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni said, so far, the total cash seizures add up to Rs 98 crore in the state. According to Chennai district election officer Chandramohan, Rs 12.71 crore has been seized in Chennai alone.

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