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LS Polls 2024: Cash, materials worth Rs 1,300 crore seized in Tamil Nadu

Giving a break-up of the cash and materials seized worth Rs 1,301 crore, officials said while the worth of metals is Rs 1,084 crore, cash (Rs 174 crore), liquor (Rs 6.67 crore), drugs (Rs 1.13 crore), and freebies (Rs 35.78 crore).
Last Updated : 18 April 2024, 15:19 IST
Last Updated : 18 April 2024, 15:19 IST

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Chennai: As Tamil Nadu votes in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on Friday, the Election Commission of India (ECI) seized cash and materials, including gold and silver, worth a whopping Rs 1,300 crore in about a month after the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) came into force on March 16.

Of this, silver and gold topped the list with officials estimating their value to be about Rs 1,084 crores followed by cash (Rs 173.85 crore) in a state that is notorious for bribing voters. Officials said the value of metals recovered this election is the highest so far after 2019 elections during which materials worth Rs 710 crore were seized from various sources.

Giving a break-up of the cash and materials seized worth Rs 1,301 crore, officials said while the worth of metals is Rs 1,084 crore, cash (Rs 174 crore), liquor (Rs 6.67 crore), drugs (Rs 1.13 crore), and freebies (Rs 35.78 crore).

“These items were to be distributed among voters in Lok Sabha constituencies. They were seized from various parts of Tamil Nadu,” a senior official told DH.

The ECI had deployed additional observers and search teams in Tamil Nadu this election as this is one of the states where use of money power in elections is rampant.

It was in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore that a Lok Sabha election was rescinded for the first time in 2019 after Rs 11 crore was found in a godown owned by the relative of a local DMK leader.

Briefing reporters here on Thursday, Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said an estimated 6.23 crore people – 3.17 crore women, 3.06 crore men, and 8,467 (Third Gender) – are eligible to exercise their franchise from 7 am to 6 pm on April 19 in as many as 68,321 polling stations, of which 8,050 are identified as vulnerable and 181 as critical.

As many as 950 candidates, including independents, are in the fray with Karur topping the list at 54 and Nagapattinam at the bottom with just nine candidates.

An age-wise break-up of the voters show those between 40-49 years of age are the highest group at 1.37 crore, followed by 30-39 (1.29 crore), 20-29 (1.10 crore), 50-59 (1.10 crore), 60-69 (71.64 lakh), 70-79 (38.66 lakh), and 80+ (14.44 lakh), and 18-19 (10.92 lakh).

He said about 3.32 lakh polling personnel will involve themselves in the election work, while about 1.3 lakh security personnel will be deployed across the state.

The electoral outcome, which will be known on June 4 after the completion of all seven phases of polls across the country, is likely to set the tone for the 2026 Assembly elections that are just about two years from now, which is much more crucial for the Dravidian majors than this election.

The largely bi-polar political fight has turned into an intense three-cornered contest this time around with the BJP, very keen to breach the Dravidian fortress, throwing its ring by cobbling up a rainbow coalition of parties that were part of the AIADMK alliance in the past.

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Published 18 April 2024, 15:19 IST

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