RK Nagar: TTV sulks, Stalin seeks action, OPS hopeful

By NT Bureau Published on Apr 10, 2017 03:44 PM IST

Chennai: RK Nagar constituency, which witnessed high voltage action till yesterday, is wearing a silent picture today, as the Election Commission cancelled the 12 April by-poll in a late midnight order. But there were reactions galore from politicians cutting across party lines.

AIADMK Amma group deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran, who is the team's candidate in the by-election, said, "The Election Commission's decision is wrong. The EC doesn't want me to win. This is a murder of democracy. They can delay an election but they cannot deny the same." He rubbished the allegations of giving cash to people to win votes.

"I was sure of winning the election. This decision was brought to stop me from winning. What evidence does EC have against me?" He also said that he would now fulfil all the promises he made even before the fresh polls. "There is no model code of conduct in place and we can proceed with our works," he said.

Former Chief Minister O Pannerselvam, who heads the AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi Amma team, said, "The by-election will take place soon. To stop distributing cash to people for votes, the EC has cancelled the election based on proper evidence. I hope it will be conducted soon."

DMK working president M K Stalin said, "Using cash and gifts for votes will not stop until this government is in place. The AIADMK and Dinakaran had used money for votes, the election officials who did not stop them must be brought under scanner."

BJP State president Tamilisai Soundararajan welcomed the decision to cancel the by-poll. She said,"If the EC had cancelled this in the beginning stage, time and money would have been saved."

She added: "I welcome the decision and this will be good for democracy. A stringent mechanism should be in place to prevent illegal money flow."

State secretary of Communist Party of India, R. Mutharasan said, "If the election is conducted again, what guarantee is there that money will not be used again?."

AIADMK (Amma) leader and Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Thambidurai said, "It was wrong to ban the elections." Nanjil Sampath of AIADMK (Amma) said, "There was big politics behind banning the elections."

As expected, The Election Commission of India on Sunday cancelled the 12 April by-poll to R K Nagar Assembly constituency in the city following complaints of distribution of money to the tune of Rs 89 crores to the voters and seizure of money during the subsequent IT raids at the premises of a sitting Minister.

A late night order, signed by the full Member Commission, comprising Chief Election Commissioner Dr Nasim Zaidi and Election Commissioners O P Rawat and A K Joti said under Article 324 of the Constitution read with sections 150, 30 and 56 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and further read with Section 21 of the General Clauses Act, 1897

and all other powers enabling it in this behalf, said the Commission's notification issued on 16 March for holding the polls stand rescinded forthwith.

"Consequently, all actions and steps taken by the Returning Officer of the RK Nagar Assembly Constituency, District Election Officer, Chennai District and all other electoral authorities concerned are hereby declared as null and void," the order said.

The by-election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa would 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 for holding a free and fair election.

The Commission was fully satisfied that the current electoral process in RK Nagar has been seriously vitiated on account of unlawful activities of the candidates and political parties and their workers by bribing the electors and unlawfully inducing them by offering money and other gifts of consumable items to woo them in their favour.

EC's TOUGH WORDS

"In the Commission's considered opinion, allowing the current electoral process to proceed and conduct the poll on 12 April as scheduled, in such vitiated atmosphere would severely jeopardize the conduct of free and fair election," the EC said.

IN THE PAST

Earlier also, in similar circumstances, the Commission was constrained to rescind the elections from Aravakurichi and Thanjavur Assembly seats in Tamilnadu during the general elections in May last year. Prior to that, the biennial election to the Council of States by members of the Jharkhand legislative assembly in March 2012 was rescinded on complaints that certain candidates were indulging in bribery of voters.

I-T MAIN REPORT MAIN REASON

The cancellation of the election comes in the back drop of I-T raids at the residential and business premises of State Health Minister Dr C Vijayabaskar on Friday last. The I-T department, in its report to the EC, said several complaints were received indicating that Vijayabaskar of AIADMK Amma party, was the main person involved in bribing the voters in RK Nagar. Some loose sheets were found with his accountant Srinivasan indicating distribution of Rs 89 crore to a number of politicians for further distribution among the voters.

TASMAC SHOPS TO OPEN

Liquor shops, which were set to be closed in the city this week in view of the by-election, will now be opened, as the by-poll has been cancelled by the EC. This is one good news for tipplers