The battle for RK Nagar Bypoll: On offer, biryani, cash, and what not! How voters are being wooed

By: | Published: December 17, 2017 1:56 PM

On December 16, Election officials recovered Rs 13 lakh from a premise in by-poll-bound R K Nagar which witnessed chaotic scenes with some men accused of trying to distribute cash to voters being chased by police and DMK cadres.

According to TV reports, people were seen distributing packets of Biriyani along with cash.

After the demise of former chief minister Jayalalitha last year, her constituency, RK Nagar, will see its by-polls on December 21. However, members of political parties are trying everything at their disposal to swing voters their way in the by-poll-bound region. On December 16, Election officials recovered Rs 13 lakh from a premise in by-poll-bound R K Nagar which witnessed chaotic scenes with some men accused of trying to distribute cash to voters being chased by police and DMK cadres. According to TV reports, people were seen distributing packets of Biriyani along with cash.

In locations including Korukkupet at R K Nagar allegations of cash, distribution was made against some men. Yesterday, the drama continued with some men accused of giving away cash denying it while at least two others were seen running away in the bylanes of the congested constituency with police giving hot chase. The by-poll was supposed to happen in April this year but was canceled following allegations of cash distribution in the constituency. For the by-elections this time around, the EC appointed nine observers for the by-poll. This is said to be the highest for an election in a single constituency.

On December 15, the EC named revenue service officials Vikram Batra as a special officer to coordinate poll-related work and Manvendra Goyal as expenditure observer. There are four expenditure observers, and two each police and general observers. Batra held a review meeting with the top officials including Chennai Police Commissioner A K Viswanathan, Chief Electoral Officer, Tamil Nadu, Rajesh Lakhoni, and others. In a petition to poll officials, the DMK alleged that despite its repeated complaints, no effective steps have been taken to curb money distribution to voters by the ruling AIADMK.

Until December 11, 95 FIRs were filed over poll related violations/ offenses and 15 persons remanded to judicial custody in this connection, they said. Also, 120 persons were placed under preventive detention and 83 vehicles seized for violation of poll code.

Besides Tamil Nadu police personnel, one company of the Central Reserve Police Force and five companies of the Central Industrial Security Force arrived yesterday. More companies of central armed police forces arrived yesterday, details of which are not known immediately. AIADMK’s E Madusudhanan, DMK’s N Maruthuganesh and sidelined AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran, besides some independents, are in the fray for the by-poll, necessitated due to the death of J Jayalalithaa, who represented the assembly segment, in December last year.

The TTV Dhinakaran camp today officially announced that the ousted AIADMK leader will contest the December 21 Radhakrishnan Nagar (RK Nagar) by-poll. “TTV Dhinakaran will contest the forthcoming (RK Nagar) by-poll,” senior leader in the camp, S Anbazhagan told reporters here.Dhinakaran was contesting the by-election with the “approval” of his aunt, the deposed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala, he added. Dhinakaran earlier contested the April 12 by-poll to the constituency, as then AIADMK (Amma) candidate.

On December 4, the Delhi High Court reserved its order on an interim plea by V K Sasikala-T T V Dhinakaran group of AIADMK for using the ‘hat’ symbol in the upcoming R K Nagar constituency by-poll. The ruling AIADMK on November 30, announced E Madhusudhanan as its candidate for the December 21 Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly by-poll. His name was finalised from a list of aspirants, who had applied expressing a willingness to contest the by-poll, a party release said.

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