February 21 2019
R.K. Nagar bypoll: Parties trade charges at EC meet
18 December 2017

Charges and counter-charges flew thick and fast in the meeting organised by Special Officer Vikram Batra to take stock of the situation prevailing in the R.K. Nagar constituency, the bypoll for which is scheduled on December 21. And, political parties not only traded allegations at the meeting but also targeted the police and poll officials for various acts of omission and commission.

At the meeting, the ruling AIADMK was represented by Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha M. Thambi Durai, Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar and P.H. Manoj Pandian. Talking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Thambi Durai rejected allegations that his partymen were involved in distributing money and claimed some persons were trying to pose as AIADMK functionaries and were distributing money. As for demands by some parties to call off the bypoll, he claimed such demands were being made only by those who were afraid of losing.

When asked about the allegation that money was distributed in AIADMK party functionary Balaganga's residence, Mr. Thambi Durai sought to brush aside the allegation and said Mr. Balaganga’s house was in Egmore and not in Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar.

DMK, the main opposition party, called for debarring candidates who distributed money to voters. Party’s working president and Leader of the Opposition M.K. Stalin along with former Minister Durai Murugan and Organising Secretary R.S. Bharathi represented the party.

Talking to reporters, Mr. Stalin

alleged that Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O. Pannerselvam and T.T.V. Dhinakaran had made democracy a laughing stock, and on Friday alone, they had spent ₹100 crore to give ₹6,000 each to the voters. “We have submitted a petition with adequate evidence. We have asked the election officials to take action against them so that they could not contest in elections in the future,” he demanded.

Mr. Stalin also wondered about the fate of the document seized by the I-T officials based on which the bypoll was rescinded earlier in the year. “This has emboldened them to distribute money again,” he said.

Asked about AIADMK MP M. Thambi Durai’s allegation that the DMK was levelling baseless charges to prevent the victory of his party, Mr. Stalin said even if it bent over backwards, the ruling party would not retain its deposit.

“We are making representation to the Election Commission not to cancel the poll, but to prevent the AIADMK from distributing money to voters,” he said. He also said that the DMK had presented 20 complaints to the EC officials over distribution of money.

BJP State President Tamilisai Soundararajan said if the prevailing situation in Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly constituency was not conducive for conducting a free and fair poll, “there would be no use” in holding the bypoll.

“The bypoll has to be conducted as per the rules. Please cross-check our complaints. Even if there is 1% violation of the rules, there would absolutely be no use in holding this bypoll,” Ms. Soundarajan said.

Former MLA P. Vetrivel, a supporter of independent candidate T.T.V. Dhinakaran, also presented a representation to Mr. Batra seeking action against those distributing money to voters. He also rejected claims that Mr. Dhinakaran’s supporters indulged in distribution of money to voters. Later in the day, Mr. Batra held a meeting with the Returning Officer Praveen P. Nair.



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