Chennai: Just hours before the Tamil Nadu assembly polls on Monday, the Election Commission of India (ECI) deferred the polling in the Thanjavur assembly constituency to 23 May.
The orders were issued late on Sunday after huge sums of cash were seized and reports about large scale distribution of money to voters surfaced.
Dhirendra Ojha, EC director (information), in a statement, said the commission, acting on the basis of reports of cash seizures and evidence of large scale distribution of money to voters, has directed polling in Thanjavur assembly constituency to be put off.
On 14 May, the ECI deferred the elections for the Aravakurichi constituency in Karur district of Tamil Nadu to 23 May, over complaints of cash distribution.
While the counting for all the other constituencies will take place on 19 May, the counting for the Aravakurichi constituency will be on 25 May.
“From the very early stages of the notification of the election, the Commission started receiving complaints in large numbers with regard to the distribution of money and other gifts in the form of consumable items, etc., to the electors of the said 134-Aravakurichi assembly constituency by the candidates and political parties in the election fray," said an official statement from the ECI.
On 22 April, ₹ 4.77 crore was seized from a residence in Aravakurichi during a raid by income tax officials. The documents “revealed a number of notings showing proximity to some prominent ministers of the Tamil Nadu government and belonging to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)," the statement added.
Further, other money and gift items—saris, dhotis, liquor, currency counting machines were also seized along with “un-registered ambulances, which were suspected to be used for transporting money," the ECI statement said.
On 10 May, ₹ 2 crore was seized from the residence of K.C. Palanisamy, Aravakurichi constituency’s Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) candidate, and his son K.C.P. Shivaraman.