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Tamil Nadu polls: AIADMK in trouble as ‘cash for votes’ video from Chepauk emerges

In the two-minute clip, a person said to be the secretary of AIADMK’s minority wing, is purportedly seen handing out currency notes to women gathered there. The alleged incident took place in the high-profile Chepauk-Triplicane constituency, which has Udhayanidhi Stalin, son of DMK president MK Stalin, in the fray.

Written by Janardhan Koushik | Chennai |
Updated: March 19, 2021 7:48:19 pm
TN assembly election AIADMKIn the two-minute video, a person, purportedly the secretary of the AIADMK’s minority wing, is seen handing out currency notes of 500 denomination, to women gathered in a queue. (Express Photo)

The ruling AIADMK is again facing allegations of distribution of cash ahead of the assembly elections, this time in in the high-profile Chepauk-Triplicane constituency. A purported video of the act, allegedly shot by another party worker, has gone viral on social media.

In the two-minute video, a person said to be the secretary of the AIADMK’s minority wing is purportedly seen handing out currency notes of 500 denomination, to women gathered there. The women are seen showing their voter ID cards and receiving cash. Along with currency notes, the women are also seen receiving the party’s promotional material. A person is heard instructing the women not to queue up for cash more than once.

The Chepauk-Triplicane constituency will see the PMK, an ally of the ruling party, in a pitched battle with the DMK. Kasali, the PMK nominee, will take on heavyweight rookie Udhayanidhi Stalin, son of DMK president MK Stalin and the party’s youth-wing leader.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, the DMK’s organising secretary and Rajya Sabha MP RS Bharathi said the Election Commission and the police should take due cognisance of the video and act against those behind such activities. “The ruling party is under the impression that it can get away with anything with support from the Centre. It is taking things for granted and will pay for it soon,” he said.

Bharathi has written to the Chief Election Officer to prevent alleged online payment of cash for votes by the AIADMK. In his letter, Bharathi said his party candidate for Thondamuthur Assembly constituency, Karthikeya Sivasenathipathy, has received reliable information that incumbent minister and AIADMK candidate SP Velumani and his followers are collecting mobile phone numbers of the general public and arranging to disburse money through Google Pay and similar applications which enable online money transfer.

“This is prohibited under Section 123 of the Representation of People Act 1951 and the Indian Penal Code. We request you to take immediate action and monitor the surge in money transfer via internet money transfer platforms,” read an excerpt from the letter.

Dismissing the claim, AIADMK spokesperson Kovai Selvaraj said the DMK is levelling false allegations against the ruling party as it fears losing the election. On the alleged cash-for-vote video involving a cadre in Chepauk constituency, he said the person seen in the footage is not in AIADMK.

“The incident took place on Friday morning. The member seen in the video doesn’t hold any position in our party. He is a member of MGR Mandram and also holds a position in a local Muslim outfit. We enquired about him in the light of the alleged incident. He did not distribute money as is being claimed by the DMK. He is quite a known face in that area and is supporting our party. He had called some women over to that area and handed out party pamphlets. Not a single frame in the video shows cash being distributed. These are baseless charges by the DMK. It senses defeat in the election and is hence coming up with such complaints. We’re ready to face legal proceedings as we know we haven’t done anything wrong,” Selvaraj said.

This is the second such incident reported in less than a week. On Wednesday, former minister and AIADMK candidate for Natham constituency, Natham R Viswanathan, was booked by the police on bribery charges. In a viral video from his recent campaign visit to Mulaiyur panchayat and adjacent areas, Viswanathan is purportedly seen taking out currency notes from his pocket and distributing them to voters. In the first half of the video, a group of women were seen standing in a row, and an alleged AIADMK cadre appears in the frame putting currency notes on each of their plates. The women had gathered for an aarti, a traditional welcome to the former minister. Following a complaint from the video surveillance team of the Election Wing, the Natham police registered a case under section 171 E of the IPC against the former minister.

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