Hyderabad: Two days before the polling, Telangana’s Huzurabad Assembly constituency on Thursday witnessed bizarre protests by a section of voters after they did not receive cash being offered by some political parties for votes.
A day after the aggressive campaigning by the parties ended, videos of distribution of notes in sealed covers among voters went viral on social media.
Supporters of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) allegedly distributed cash among voters. They allegedly paid Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000 for every vote.
One of the videos circulating on social media shows a man opening a sealed cover with the picture of BJP candidate Eatala Rajender and ‘Lotus’ symbol on it. He is seen counting the currency notes valued Rs 10,000. In another video, a woman is seen opening an envelope containing the cash.
Throughout the campaign, both the parties accused each other of distributing cash, liquor and other items to lure the voters.
As word about distribution of cash spread on Thursday, voters in several villages came out on streets to protest and question local leaders of the two parties. The protesters, including a large number of women, were heard asking why they were not given the money.
“I have not received a single rupee. Why this discrimination,” asked an agitated voter in Kamlapur.
Policemen on streets found themselves in a dilemma as the protesters approached them complaining that they were not given the money. They were angry with the local leaders of the two parties for ‘ignoring’ them.
Meanwhile, a delegation of TRS leaders met Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shashank Goel in Hyderabad and once again complained that the BJP leaders opened bank accounts and transferred money for distribution among voters.
The Congress party urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to cancel the by-election as both BJP and TRS were violating the model code of conduct and by distributing money and liquor. Party’s national spokesperson Dr Sravan Kumar Dasoju submitted a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner.
ECI officials on Thursday took note of the reports about cash and liquor distribution and directed the officials concerned to act firmly to ensure fair and free polling. They held a video conference with the CEO, collectors of Karimnagar and Hanamkonda districts, senior police officials and poll observers.
The CEO said officials in Huzurabad have so far seized Rs 3.52 crore cash.
The by-election was necessitated by the resignation of Eatala Rajender after he was dropped from the State Cabinet over allegations of land grabbing. He quit TRS to join BJP.