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In RK Nagar, Voters Don't Want to Keep Netas With Cash Waiting

Just two days before the all-crucial bypoll in RK Nagar, a seat which was held by the late J Jayalalithaa, CNN-News18 has exposed attempts by netas to bribe voters, who seem only too happy to oblige.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:April 9, 2017, 3:36 PM IST
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Chennai: Just two days before the all-crucial bypoll in RK Nagar, a seat which was held by the late J Jayalalithaa, CNN-News18 has exposed attempts by netas to bribe voters, who seem only too happy to oblige.

CNN-News18 went undercover to speak to the voters who said they have received Rs 4,000 per vote from the ‘hat symbol people’ and a few alleged the DMK, too, was distributing money. Another section of voters is upset at having missed out, so they are skipping work today and waiting at home for netas with cash to come calling.

Here’s a transcript of the conversation with voters:

CNN-News18: We were told they are distributing money and that there is a car in this area.

Elderly voter: It's too hot now. They will distribute in the evening.

CNN-News18: What time in the evening?

Voter: Many people go to work during the day. They (party agents) know what time people return home. So they will come later.

CNN-News18: Have you received money?

Voter: The second candidate didn't give. They said they won't give.

CNN-News18: Who gave you money?

Voter: Hat symbol people

CNN-News18: How much did they give?

Voter: Rs 4,000

CNN-News18: Who is coming now?

Voter: The same guys are giving people who haven't received yet. The DMK is next.

CNN-News18: How much is the DKM giving?

Voter: I don't know. They haven't started distributing here.

CNN-News18: OPS?

Voter: No. Only ‘hat’ has given Rs 4,000. I have collected it for my granddaughter and grandson. And daughter. They are now giving it to people who haven't got yet. After they finish, the DMK will start distributing.

CNN-News18: What about OPS?

Voter: No one has come. They will come after 4pm. You come see then…near the temple.

CNN-News18: Around 4pm?

Voter: Yes. Come near the temple around 4pm.

CNN-News18: Which temple?

Voter: Yes. Come around 4pm, you'll see everything.

While undercover, CNN-News18 also sat in on a meeting between agents who distributed the money and residents who complained that they didn’t get enough

Man 1: That woman is coming and asking me. They're saying they'll create a ruckus.

Party man: There was a man who claimed to be very close to the candidate. He came at 5 am complaining that only Rs 1000 was given. We came to know that his own son had cheated. I told him that his son had received the money.

Another agent: You are aware of the workers from Tambaram, right? Any shortcomings or complaints about their distribution work?

Voter: No.
Another agent: Any complaints with our work?

Voter: No. no. Only some people are complaining.

Agent: They’ll keep saying that they didn't get… though they got. One man brought his mother's voter id and asked if it (money) was available.

Woman: I haven't moved from here. I have a vote.

Agent: Whose fault is that? The Election Commission, corporation rolls have been the same for 15 years.

Another agent: See, if you had got a slip, you wouldn't have missed out.

Man: Hey, it’s not her fault. It’s the official's fault.

Given such blatant violation of the Model Code of Conduct, reports had earlier said that the Election Commission was considering cancelling the April 12 vote. The poll panel, however, denied the reports.

Six ministers from the Sasikala camp of the AIADMK allegedly distributed cash to the tune of Rs 89 crore to voters. Earlier this week, the O Panneerselvam faction released a video showing people, allegedly belonging to the Sasikala camp, distributing money.

Rubbishing the charges, AIADMK leader CR Saraswathi said: “It is not true at all. No one can be seen clearly in the video.”

Reacting to the expose, Union minister Pon Radharakrishnan said: “This is not good for the democracy. People are prepared to get money for their votes. They think it is their right to get money for their vote. I feel postponing the election is the only remedy. The EC should ban the candidates involved.”

Pro-Panneerselvam leader C Ponnaiyan reiterated allegations that the Sasikala camp was bribing voters.

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