Vellore LS seat to go to polls on August 5

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Elections to Vellore Lok Sabha constituency in Tamil Nadu, which was rescinded in April due to “unlawful activities” including luring voters through cash by DMK candidate Kadhir Anand, will be held on August 5, the Election Commission of India announced on Thursday.

While nominations will be received from July 11, the voting will take place on August 5 and counting of votes on August 9. The Vellore election was cancelled on April 16, the day campaigning ended in Tamil Nadu after the Income Tax department found unaccounted cash to the tune of crores of rupees on premises owned by those close to the DMK nominee.

This was the first time that election in a Lok Sabha seat was rescinded following rampant use of money power. In 2016, the EC had cancelled polls to Aravakurichi and Thanjavur assembly constituencies and R K Nagar assembly seat in 2017 due to similar allegations.

Vellore witnessed a high-profile contest 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.

A case has been filed against Anand. If there is no legal bar on Anand to contest the election, the DMK will in all probability re-nominate him for the seat. Anand is the son of DMK Treasurer Durai Murugan, who is the senior-most in the party after general secretary K Anbazhagan.

DMK alliance swept the elections held for 38 Lok Sabha seats by winning 37 of them with the ruling AIADMK winning just one seat in Theni. While rescinding the polls, the ECI had said it detected a “systematic design” to influence voters in the constituency during the election process.

It had also accused Kadhir Anand and his father of shifting a large amount of cash and other incriminating material out of their college premises while the I-T teams were denied entry on March 30. It had said during the raids at the residence of one Damodaran, brother-in-law of a DMK functionary, Srinivasan, a total of Rs 11.48 crores, most of it packed in plastic packets with ward-wise details, was seized.

“The fact that the claimant does not have any explained source of income and that the documents found with the cash pertain to an institution run by the family of the DMK candidate lays bare the nexus between the candidate and the sums so found,” the ECI had said.

Cash for votes is a reality in Tamil Nadu where political parties spend a huge amount of cash to tilt votes in their favour.

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