Lok Sabha Polls: EC dismisses seeking President’s approval to cancel Vellore elections because of cash-for-votes

The Election Commission on Tuesday rejected sending any notice to President Ram Nath Kovind asking him to cancel the Lok Sabha elections for the Vellore constituency in Tamil Nadu. The media reports alleged the use of money power to influence the voters due to which Election Commission moved to the Resident to urge the cancellation of the Lok Sabha elections in the Vellore constituency.

With few days left for the state to go on polls, the speculation rose for the countermanding of the elections in the Vellore constituency on Monday. According to the sources, the Election Commission has come into the light of damaging reports from the Tamil Nadu’s Chief Electoral Officer in connection to the cash-for-votes. The Election Commission has sought the notice of President Ram Nath Kovind in respect to the seizure made from the premises of the DMK leaders and to drop the elections in Vellore Parliamentary constituency.

The Election Commission has suspected the use of money, and power to influence in voters in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. The two seats, Ambur and Gudiyattam, are under speculation of countermanding the elections.

The EC received a letter from the Chief Electoral Officer and special expenditure officer that let EC conclude that money power was being used to influence voters in the parliamentary seat.

The development came after the EC came under the notice of the reports by the Income Tax Departments of the cash seizures from the premises of DMK Veteran leader and party treasurer, Duraimurugan’s son Kathir Anand in Vellore on March 29. Successively, a second IT search was carried out when  ₹11.53 crores of cash were seized. The unaccounted cash seized from Anand’s residence amounted to ₹10.50 lakhs out of the total cash seized,  ₹19 lakhs.  The seizures also include the printouts of the papers with wards number written on them that were evidence of the alleged use of cash to influence the voters and buy votes.

According to the Indian Express, the report submitted by the Election Commission will be shared with the Law Ministry for its views on Tuesday.

According to the total seizure made ahead of the Lok Sabha polls of the unaccounted cash, the majority contribution was from Tamil Nadu that accounted for  ₹499 crores of alleged possession of drugs, liquor, precious metals, and freebies.

If the President gives the notice in favor of EC, then Vellore will be the first Lok Sabha seat to have countermanded its elections because of use of money power.

The previous elections have seen countermanding elections due to different reasons. In 2017, Dr, Radhakrishnan Nagar assembly seat in Tamil Nadu was countermanded twice. In 2016, during Tamil Nadu elections, two seats had postponed elections because of the cash seizure.

The Vellore constituency is set to go to polls on April 18. The results for the elections will be announced on May 23.

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