Three days ahead of the bypolls, the Election Commission canceled Chennai’s RK Nagar constituency polls. This step was taken by the EC after allegation arose of voters being offered cash and gifts in exchange for votes. The total ‘payment plan’ for the buying of votes is apparently a whopping sum of Rs. 89 crores.
These numbers were released after a raid on the home of Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar. He is alleged to be working on behalf of V.K. Sasikala, the General Secretary of AIADMK. The Election Commission has decided to scrutinize the appointment of Sasikala as the interim general secretary of AIADMK. This post was challenged by O. Panneerselvam after the Sasikala camp overthrew his government. The EC has three months to analyze the situation as the new elections date will be announced only after that.
The EC collected proof of money being distributed through phone recharge coupons, newspaper subscriptions, milk tokens and money transfers through mobile wallets. It also came to light money was sent to people through the newspapers that were subscribed along with hats, scarves and sarees.
T.T.V. Dinakaran, the present General Secretary of AIADMK, who has been accused of launching this mega cash for votes plan said, “cancelling the by-election is a wrong decision.” He added, “Maybe the Election Commission doesn’t want me to win. They can only delay, not deny our victory. We will win.”
The need for bypolls in RK Nagar arose after the death of J. Jayalalithaa, who represented this constituency. The bypolls were vital, as the race for Amma’s constituency was high in Sasikala, Pannerselvam camps and also DMK.