The President of India on Tuesday countermanded the election to the Lok Sabha from Vellore constituency in Tamil Nadu following seizure of unaccounted money from DMK treasurer Durai Murugan’s house and from the college of his son and DMK candidate Kathir Anand recently.
The President acted on the advice of the Election Commisison which based it on the report by the income-tax department about seizure of Rs 10 lakh from Durai Murugan’s house and from the colleges of son Kathir Anand as well as another Rs 11.5 crore from a godown of one of his alleged associates. The Election Commisssion said that large-scale seizure of money in Vellore had vitiated the atmosphere in Vellore making fair and fair polls not possible.
State Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo told reporters that only the Lok Sabha poll had been countermanded and by-election to the Tamil Nadu Assembly from Ambur and Gudiyatham which come in this constituency would be held as scheduled along with 20 other by-elections on April 18.
Immediately after the IT raid on March 30 on Durai Murugan and his son, DMK president M K Stalin publicly accused the Election Commission of plotting to put off the polls. Stalin alleged that the Rs 11.5 crore allegedly seized from a godown was planted by the ruling AIADMK.
The DMK plans to challenge the EC’s decision in the Madras High Court. It remains to be seen whether the court will intervene. Generally courts do not and cannot interfere once the election is set in motion.
As a result of Tuesday’s development, elections will be held only for 39 Lok Sabha seats. This is not the first time that an election is Tamil Nadu being countermanded. Earlier the EC cancelled Assembly by- elections in Aravakurichi and R K Nagar. However, when the polls were eventually held in December 2017, rebel AIADMK candidate in R K Nagar T T V Dinakaran accused of cash for vote, won hands down. Similarly, the AIADMK won from Aravakurichi.