With just three days to go for the elections, Tamil Nadu is already seeing an overdose of Vitamin M. The inflow of cash has already taken various route with the political parties having innovative strategies to distribute money, while the election commission is busy tracking them down. The proactive election commission has already seized more than 100 crore rupees of cash and it is just the tip of the iceberg as reports of money being distributed in several parts of the state come in.
Free flow of money
While in the earlier days, money was being handed over to people outside their homes or after returning from a rally, now much more state-of-the-art ideas have been deployed. For instance, money being distributed openly in the guise of custom to drop cash in the aarthi plate, and then mangalsutra being distributed to women in the families are all the new trends used by visiting politicians.
The election officials who have been officially seizing this money have said that the 100 crore rupees of seized was meant for distribution to buy votes. “So far from 4th March from the date of announcement of the election we have seized around 100 crore of money and this is going on and last two three days are very critical and we have stepped up our effort. So far our effort was to seize stash money which may be later used for election, now our effort is to stop distribution of money,” said Rajesh Lakhoni the Chief election officer in Tamil Nadu.
Well, while everyone sees this new high in the state as a new low in the political history. The election commission had seized Rs 25 crore rupees in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and it was Rs 36 crore rupees in the 2011 assembly election. Adding to this political drama is the desire of the political parties to project a clean image while the officials say that every party has its own share of money distribution.
“The worrisome aspect is that the officials are helping the ADMK government in transporting the money. I think this is just a tip of the iceberg. I don’t think this represents even 5 per cent of the money that has been pumped in by the ADMK government,” said Saravanan, DMK spokesperson. Political analysts like Suman C Raman ensures that dirty picture is clearly revealed “I don’t think it is fair to blame only one party. In fact It was DMK which introduced what was called the Thirumangalam formula for one of the assembly by elections and it is after that this paying voters kind of became rampant exercise,” says Suman.No note for vote is a campaign run by the election commission to create awareness among voters to stop taking bribe, and this has at least grabbed the attention of people like Sundar, a voter from T-Nagar in Chennai. “It’s not that the politicians are buying our votes. It is more like the voters are selling their votes. If we restrict ourselves, then this process can be stopped. Why blame the politician when we also contribute to it?” Said Sundar.
With both major Dravidian parties trying to make people of Tamil Nadu richer before the elections, DMDK leader Vijaykant is trying a different USP. He says he will neither give or take money for a vote. In a video released by Vijayakanth he says, “I will neither give money for a vote nor take money for a vote.”
Everyone wants the vote, and many are ready to go the easy way of bribing the voters. On May 19, it will be disclosed as to who really won, and the voters will decide if it is money over credibility.