There was a scandal in 2017 where it was found that the then ruling AIADMK had planned to distribute Rs 89 crore to two lakh voters in return of votes. This scandal was discovered on the basis of an Income Tax Department raid at the state health minister’s house. This had happened during the time of the RK Nagar bypoll. The nightmare has again returned, and it is a bigger nightmare considering that it is part of a nationwide election where the ruler of the country for the next five years is to be elected.
I-T sleuths discovered Rs 11.5 crore in cash in the houses of Kathir Anand, a Vellore candidate belonging to the DMK party. He gave wrong information in his election affidavit and henceforth, has been charged under the Representation of the People Act. Also, two of his party functionaries have been accused for bribery.
In another raid, the Income Tax Department have found Rs 1.48 crore in cash in Tamil Nadu’s Theni district. The location from where the money has been discovered is the office of AMMK party. To recall, IT sleuths have recovered Rs 20 crore from Kathir Anand’s father’s house, Durai Murugan who happens to be the treasurer of Vellore. It is sad, but true that out of Rs 143.47 crore seized from all states and Union Territories across the country by the end of this March, Tamil Nadu accounts for one fifth of it.
This is not the first time that Tamil Nadu has been at the height of bribery for manipulating the end results of elections. It is very sad, that despite being continously caught by parties appointed by the Election Commission, the perpetrators still find a way to pose a challenge to it, thinking that they will get away. Every pre-election period, around this time, the Income Tax Department continously conducts raids only to find piles of money hidden in the umpteenth house of a politician.
By now, it won’t be surprising for anyone to realise that bribery has become the staple means to decide the outcome of any election. The saddening fact is that voters, who are responsible for determining the right government and their own well-being are digging their own graves. Everyone has normalised the act of bribery and accepted it as a part of their daily existence. If this is not taken seriously then this problem won’t cease to exist. We are all equally responsible for accusing anyone who indulges in such an activity and discourage this practice which is an age old disease of politics.