In an unprecedented move in the history of Tamil Nadu”s electoral politics, the Election Commission of India (EC) on Saturday decided to rescind its poll notification in two constituencies following conclusive evidence of bribery of voters on a large scale. Quite shockingly, the EC has noted that bribing of voters continued in one of the constituencies after the postponement of polls in Aravakurichi constituency in Karur district and Thanjavur constituency, both in central Tamil Nadu, on charges of irregularities. Tamil Nadu went to polls on May 16 but polling in the two constituencies was deferred at the eleventh hour – first in Aravakurichi and then in Thanjavur. Originally the deferred polls were to take place on May 23 but the EC withheld its decision after the PMK and BJP”s candidates moved the Madras High Court seeking postponing of the elections.
Meanwhile, late on Thursday night, Tamil Nadu Governor in a controversial move, at the behest of the two AIADMK candidates in these seats, wrote to the EC recommending that polling be held by June 1.
Amidst all this, the EC on Saturday issued a detailed order in which it took the step of rescinding the poll notification in the two constituencies.
It all began with the EC and Income Tax Department seizing Rs 4.77 crore cash and 200 saris and dhotis from one Anbunathan in Karur district. Diaries seized from his house indicated that his “proximity to some prominent Ministers of the Tamil Nadu Government belonging to the AIADMK.” They also seized currency counting machines from his home. Former Transport Minister Senthil Balaji was fielded in Aravakurichi by the AIADMK.