The by-polls were scheduled for April 12, 2017 but were cancelled by the EC following allegations of bribing of voters.
DMK Working President MK Stalin on Friday announced Marudhu Ganesh as party’s candidate for the crucial RK Nagar by-elections. The bypolls for the assembly constituency which fell vacant following the demise of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa last year will be held on December 21. The announcement from EC came days after Madras High Court direction to hold by-election in RK Nagar by December 31. Earlier, the by-polls were scheduled for April 12, 2017 but were cancelled by the EC following allegations of bribing of voters. During the same period of time, the Income Tax department held searches on the premises of Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar. The IT department had also raided the residences of Minister’s associates. The documents seized in the raids allegedly revealed that Rs 89 crore were routed for “distribution to voters”.
The officials had alleged that the VK Sasikala faction of the party paid money to voters to buy support for its candidate TTV Dinakaran, who is also her nephew. As evidence, the department had cited documents seized during raids on Friday in more than 35 places – including properties of the state health minister C Vijayabaskar.
Later, DMK working president Stalin had demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. He had said that Palaniswami, who was in Sasikala’s camp at that time, had distributed cash for votes. “Election Commission should also probe how bribing took place despite huge deployment of observers and flying squads. It should also take tough action against police officers and election officials,” Stalin said in a statement. While on the other hand, the Sasikala camp termed the Election’s Commission decision as ‘undemocratic’. While the OPS faction of the party has welcomed the EC’s decision.
Meanwhile in Octiober, the DMK had asked Election Commission to delete all bogus voters from the electoral rolls of RK Nagar Assembly constituency before holding by-polls there later this year. DMK MP and Organisation Secretary RS Bharathi met Rajesh Lakhoni, Chief Electoral Officer, Tamil Nadu, and submitted a petition to this effect.