The Tamil Nadu Election Commission has directed the district collectors of nine districts where rural local body elections will take place on October 6 and 9 to conduct strict monitoring to prevent bribing voters.
The move came after a woman named Ponsheela, contesting for the post of panchayat president in Perampathu village, was booked for throwing a feast for the voters in her constituency.
While filing her nomination, Ponsheela was accompanied by more than 1,000 people to the BDO’s office in Kadayam.
People who accompanied her were brought in 40 vans, cars and two-wheelers, and these people were provided with a lunch by Ponsheela and her relatives at a nearby community hall. Officials said that she had also provided liquor and money to some of these people who had accompanied her.
Following a tip-off from the villagers, the district administration directed the local police to book her. The police said that Ponsheela and another person named Jayakodi were booked for bribing the voters on Saturday.
The superintendent of Tenkasi district police, R. Krishnaraj, told IANS that only one case has been filed under election-related violation in the district.
Following this, the state Election Commission directed all the district collectors and district superintendents of police to maintain proper vigil on poll-related violations and book those violating the election decorum.
The nine districts that are going for rural local body polls are Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Vellore, Tirupattur, Ranipet, Villupuram, Kallakurichi, Tirunelveli and Tenkasi.
With September 22 being the last date for filing of nomination papers, several ticket aspirants are thronging the party offices with an entourage of people as show off strength.
Manomani. G, a professor of political science at a private college in Chennai, told IANS, “The Election Commission has to crack the whip. Otherwise, the rural local body elections will become a farce and money and liquor will dominate voting. That should not happen and the poll panel must properly monitor this. The district administration, including the district collector and the district superintendent of police, must be given the responsibility to check if money is changing hands or whether liquor is being served. The democratic process must be conducted in a legal manner.”