Chennai: Alleging that money power was being used by ruling AIADMK to ensure its victory, Congress on Monday announced it would neither contest nor support any party in the February 13 byelections to Srirangam assembly constituency.
"Since this by-poll will not be based on democracy but through money means, we have decided not to contest and not to support any party," TNCC President E V K S Elangovan told reporters here.
The by-poll was caused by the disqualification of AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa following the four-year jail term awarded to her by a special court in the disproportionate assets case.
AIADMK, DMK, BJP and CPI-M have announced their candidates for the by-poll, keenly watched as it comes at a time when AIADMK is lying low with Jayalalithaa waging a legal battle in Karnataka High Court against her conviction.
PMK, an ally of NDA, and MDMK have also decided not to contest the poll.
Alleging that AIADMK had distributed Rs 1,000 each to the voters and another Rs 4,000 was to be distributed next week, the TNCC chief said "this is an eye wash poll. If you look at the recent history of by-polls in Tamil Nadu, it is the ruling party that would win by giving money."
He replied in the affirmative when asked whether any party had sought Congress' support in the bypoll, but declined to name it.
Elangovan also said the party had lost trust in Election Commission on stopping flow of money as it could not prevent use of money in the last general elections.
He referred to reported remarks of former Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath that usage of money power was rampant in Tamil Nadu during last general polls. "Money was given to public and they (EC) were unable to stop it," Elangovan said.
Asked whether by choosing not to contest, Congress would attract a weak image, while BJP was gearing up for the bypoll, he said, "this is not weakness. As for as we are concerned, we don't want to waste our energy."
"As for as BJP is concerned, they are also going to give money. I think all the contesting parties are going to distribute money," he said adding CPI-M might be an exception.
Asked if he would advice his partymen to accept money from other parties, he said, "We are not supporting anyone. Let them do anything based on their conscience. It is based on the money.. If Rs one lakh is offered, I myself would take it but would not vote for them..," he said.
When another reporter persisted with the same question, he said, "Don't try to put words into my mouth.."