EC nixes TN bypoll for voter bribery

The Election Commission has decided to postpone indefinitely the bypoll to the R K Nagar constituency, scheduled on April 12, attributing its late-evening decision to rampant voter bribing and corruption.

The by-election to fill the vacancy in R K Nagar “shall be held by the commission in due course when the vitiating effect created by the distribution of money and gift items to allure the electors gets removed with the passage of time and the atmosphere in the constituency becomes conducive to holding of free and fair election“, said a 29-page statement signed by chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi and his two associates, election commissioners A K Joti and O P Rawat.

EC's sudden decision also came two days after income tax sleuths launched extensive searches and raids at the residence and several premises of state health minister C Vijayabaskar across Tamil Nadu. I-T officials told media representatives the raids helped uncover a major plot to bribe voters.The documents unearthed showed close to Rs.90 crore was distributed to voters in R K Nagar by AIADMK-Amma party, which fielded T T V Dhinakaran.

In its elaborate justification of its decision, the commission said considering its duty “of conducting free and fair elections and upholding the purity of election and after taking into account all relevant facts and circumstances of the case“, it is fully satisfied that the current electoral process in R K Nagar had been seriously vitiated.

This was on account of unlawful activities of the candidates and political parties and their workers who bribed the electors and unlawfully induced them by offering money and other gifts of consumable items to woo them in their favour.

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