New Delhi: Calling Tamil Nadu a "challenging
case", the Election Commission today it cannot "close its eyes
to rampant malpractices" there and rejected the charge
levelled by DMK and PMK that it has imposed emergency in the
"Can we be faulted for discharging our Constitutional
responsibilities sincerely and earnestly? Can we close our
eyes to the rampant malpractices?", Chief Election
Commissioner SY Quraishi said to a news agency.
He was reacting to criticism by political parties in the
state "for being over restrictive and for harassment".
The Commission has enforced stringent measures to curb
use of money power in the current round of assembly elections
in states, especially in Tamil Nadu, where there has been
widespread attempts to bribe voters by paying them cash.
Quraishi said that through a series of steps that are
"unprecedented even by our own standards" officials have
seized unauthorised cash of over Rs 53 crore in cash out of
which Rs 42 crore are from Tamil Nadu alone.
Brushing aside the criticism from the two parties, he
said that the poll panel was "not exceeding our powers. We are
within our Constitutional mandate. Any criticism is totally
unfair and we dismiss it."
DMK chief M Karunanidhi and his ally PMK founder S
Ramadoss have attacked the EC saying an emergency like
situation has been brought about in the state while such a
situation was not prevalent in the other poll-bound states.
"Holding free and fair elections is always the top
priority. We also seek to make the polls peaceful, transparent
"We are enforcing expenditure control measures in great
detail in these elections to check the role of money power.
Tamil Nadu has been a challenging case. But we are doing our
best and will not allow any let up," he said.