Centre backs EC's decision to cancel bypoll

Centre backs EC's decision to cancel bypoll

Centre backs EC's decision to cancel bypoll

The Centre has backed the Election Commission’s decision to cancel the April 12 bypoll to the R K Nagar Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu over the use of money power to influence voters.

“We have seen the brazen manner in which the money was being distributed, and various reports have confirmed this,” said Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, welcoming the poll panel’s move.

Congress leader P Chidambaram, however, took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking if his demonetisation drive has achieved the desired results. “We were told demonetisation has put an end to black money. Was money distributed in R K Nagar white money?” he said in a tweet.

Naidu said the poll panel had acted on the basis of evidence after sleuths of the income tax investigation wing had raided properties and offices belonging to state Health Minister C Vijayabaskar across Tamil Nadu on Friday. The searches revealed routing of Rs 89 crore for distribution among voters in the R K Nagar Assembly constituency.

Vijayabaskar is a loyalist of AIADMK (Amma) faction’s candidate T T V Dinakaran.Naidu brushed aside charges by the ruling AIADMK and other parties attributing a political motive to the EC’s decision.

“It is the decision by the Election Commission and it is a correct decision. It is wrong to attribute political motives to the decision. It is an open fact that money was being distributed. It was caught on tape,” the senior BJP leader said.

Taking on Chidambaram for his dig at Modi, Naidu said the former finance minister could explain better as most of the black money was generated during the UPA’s regime. “It is ridiculous to make such arguments. White money or black money will be known only after an enquiry. The use of money is certainly there.