Supply of money for votes taking place despite measures: EC

The Election Commission warned for the second day that it may postpone elections in areas where the malpractice takes place.

Last Updated: Apr 12, 2011, 20:43 PM IST

Chennai: Admitting that incidents of money
distribution were occurring despite its strong measures for
tomorrow`s Tamil Nadu Assembly polls, the Election Commission
warned for the second day today that it may postpone elections
in areas where the malpractice takes place.

"The Commission is strictly watching... We are getting
reports (of money distribution) from micro-observers and civil
society groups. We may consider postponing or countermanding
(the polls in those areas) if there are any such incidents,"
Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar told reporters here.

Asked whether the EC would consider postponing or
countermanding the polls, he said, "Still there is enough time
for us. Even after polls we may consider (postponing or
cancelling)," he said.
Asked whether the EC had been able to stop the distribution
of money, he admitted that though strong measures have been
taken, some incidents were still happening.

"I cannot say we have stopped it 100 per cent. Commission
has been able to restrict to a larger level and open play of
money has been changed into a underground play," he said.

The EC had yesterday also issued a stern warning against
alleged money distribution to voters, saying it was watching
the situation "closely" and could even countermand the
elections in segments where the "malpractices" continue.
Earlier today, Kumar appealed to voters to cast their vote
as per their "conscience" and without any "fear".

Stating that web cameras have been installed to monitor the
activities in all the polling stations, he said, "All the
9,500 polling stations have a camera installed. But the
location of compartment is kept in such a way that no one will
be able to know (to which party you are voting)".

He said 240 companies of para-military forces and about
1.50 lakh police personnel were deployed in all the polling
stations. "There will be either static or flying squad in
polling booths," he said.

Kumar said about Rs 34 crore had been seized so far as
"unaccounted money" in the run up to the elections while
yesterday alone Rs 30 lakh was seized. The EC has also been
returning to their rightful owners the seized money on
producing the relevant documents.

Kumar also said nobody would be able to know as to which
candidate the voters have have cast their ballot as the EC
would mix or merge the EVMs in one polling booth with other
EVMs in other polling booth.

"We will be mixing the EVMs and by means of that nobody
will know which candidate has got the maximum number of
votes," he said.

About 61,900 cases had been booked for violation of Model
Code of Conduct, out of which a majority was registered for
"defacement" and the number of cases registered for
distribution of money was 1,253, he said.

PTI