The election for the Vellore Lok Sabha constituency has been cancelled by the President of India on the recommendation of the Election Commission. This was followed by the recovery of a large amount of money in the constituency meant to bribe voters.
Last month, the Income Tax department and the EC had raided DMK treasurer Durai Murugan’s residence in Vellore and reportedly seized a large amount of unaccounted cash. DMK is the alliance partner of Congress for Tamil Nadu and in their seat-sharing arrangement, the Vellore seat has gone to DMK.
Huge amount of cash was kept in cartons and gunny bags neatly packed with ward and division numbers written on them, leaving no doubt about the purpose of the money. Money worth more than Rs 11.5 crore and several incriminating documents were recovered in the Income Tax raid.
Following this, the Election Commission had recommended to the president that the election in Vellore should be rescinded as money power was being used to influence voters. The commission had written that current electoral process in Vellore parliamentary constituency in Tamil Nadu has been seriously vitiated on account of unlawful activities of certain candidates and some members/workers of the political party. The commission had said that in such a scenario, conducting the poll in the constituency on 18th April as scheduled will jeopardize the conduct of free and fair election in such a vitiated atmosphere.
Accordingly, exercising the power given to the Election Commission of India under article 324 of Constitution read with section 21 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 and other powers, the commission recommended that the president may rescind the election notification issued for the Vellore Lok Sabha constituency.
Considering and accepting the recommendation of the ECI, the president cancelled the election for Vellore.
It may be noted that earlier in the day, the EC had issued a statement saying that no decision on cancelling Vellore election has been taken yet, denying several media reports speculating the same.
23 candidates had filed nominations for the Vellore seat, which include A.C. Shanmugam of AIADMK, D.M. Kathir Anand of DMK and E. Karunanithi of BSP. In 2014, AIADMK had won the seat defeating the BJP candidate.