Cash for Votes: LS polls in Vellore rescinded

Income Tax officials had seized a total of Rs 11.53 crore from the cement godown in Vellore, sources said, adding that the cash was neatly packed and had ward numbers written on them. (Screen grab)

Elections to Vellore Lok Sabha constituency in Tamil Nadu was rescinded on Tuesday after President Ram Nath Kovind accepted the Election Commission’s request following recovery of cash to the tune of Rs 11 crore from a godown allegedly owned by a DMK functionary.

This is the first time that elections in a Lok Sabha seat is rescinded following rampant use of money power – in 2016, the EC cancelled polls to Aravakurichi and Thanjavur assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu over similar allegations.

The godown, according to government sources, is owned by a DMK functionary close to party’s candidate from Vellore, Kathir Anand, who is also the son of DMK Treasurer Durai Murugan. The Election Commission’s move was expected since Rs 11 crore was seized from the cement godown which the agency suspected was kept for distribution among voters in the constituency.

Vellore is a high-profile seat where Anand was locked in an intense battle with New Justice Party’s A C Shanmugam, an AIADMK veteran who had shrugged shoulders with the late M G Ramachandran, and K Pandurangan of the AMMK.

“Accepting the recommendation of Election Commission of India dated 14th April 2019, the honourable President is pleased to rescind election to 8-Vellore Parliamentary Constituency Tamil Nadu to elect a member to Lok Sabha,” an ECI spokesperson said.

However, by-elections to Ambur and Gudiyatham assembly constituencies which fall under Vellore Lok Sabha seat will be held as scheduled on April 18.

Income Tax officials had seized a total of Rs 11.53 crore from the cement godown in Vellore, sources said, adding that the cash was neatly packed and had ward numbers written on them.

Cash for votes is a reality in Tamil Nadu where political parties spend huge amount of cash to tilt votes in their favour. Besides Aravakurichi and Thanjavur, by-elections to Dr R K Nagar assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu was also rescinded in November 2017 due to allegations of rampant use of money power.

As expected, the DMK cried foul over the move with Durai Murugan calling rescinding of election as an “act of political vendetta.” “This is mockery and murder of democracy,” he said.

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Cash for Votes: LS polls in Vellore rescinded

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