Conducting elections in Tamil Nadu, be it Parliament or Panchayat polls, has been becoming the Himalayan task for the Election Commission and one of the strong factors that would irk the Election Commission from conducting the smooth election is the dominance and distribution of money to the voters. Tamil Nadu has been a forefront state in trading the votes for money and it's no surprise for the commission in seizing and exhuming money and precious items in the state ahead of the assembly polls.
Tamil Nadu will go to the single-phase poll on April 6 - Tuesday and the state is witnessing five fronts in the race for the reign. Amid the heated campaigns of the political parties, the Election Commission had also deployed hundreds of officials across the state to monitor the money distribution from the political parties to the voters. The officials had carried out extensive scrutiny and searches and there was an unprecedented scale of patrolling during the night and early morning hours with checking the vehicles and recovering the unaccounted cash from them.
The officials have been recovering the money across the state and there was a pile of cash and precious items that were seized by the Election Commission in the state. The campaigns had come to an end on Sunday - April 4 at 7 pm post which the election commission had ordered the members and leaders who don't belong to the constituency to vacate the segment. On Monday, the Election Commission has issued a statement in which it has said that it has seized items and cash totally worth over Rs 428 crore in the state.
The total value includes the cash seizure of Rs 1.23 crore in the Thousand Lights constituency, Chennai, Rs 1.15 crore in Veerapandi, Salem, and Rs 91.56 lakh in Ranipet district. According to the Election Commission, the total cash seizure alone was Rs 225.5 crore and the rest being precious metal such as gold, besides liquor. In its statement, the commission said, "Last 72 hours are extremely sensitive from an expenditure standpoint. Towards this, round the clock surveillance along with CAPF (Central Armed Police Force) teams have been taken up".
The statement has said that in Tamil Nadu, 105 expenditure-sensitive constituencies have been identified and extra efforts as mandated by Election Commission were strengthened. As many as 118 Expenditure Observers have been drafted to monitor expenditure by candidates and political parties. The reports say that the seizure of cash and items has become yet another example of how the state has a dominance of money during the elections.
In an unprecedented fashion, Tamil Nadu is witnessing five fronts on the race - the ruling ADMK alliance, the opposition DMK alliance, Kamal Haasan- Sarathkumar- IJK, TTV Dhinakaran - Vijayakanth, and Seeman's Naam Tamilar Katchi. Around 4,000 candidates are in the fray and over 6.26 crore eligible voters will elect the representatives for the 234 assembly seats. The election commission has established 88,937 polling booths across the state and while the state goes to the polls on April 6, the votes will be counted on May 2, during which the results will be announced.