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Voters in cash and liquor bribery in 5 assembly polls to a record 1 billion rupees: EC | India News

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NEW DELHI: The seizure of illegal voter incentives, such as liquor and cash, during the ongoing elections to five assemblies and secondary elections to some seats has exceeded the record value of Rs 1 billion, a huge leap of more than four times from the 2016 Polls, the Electoral Commission said on Friday.
A “progressive” report from the Election Commission, to be updated as the remaining phases of voting take place, said that the maximum of Rs 446.28 crore was seized in Tamil Nadu, where the elections have already ended, followed by Bengal. Occidental (Rs 300.11 crore), where four phases are still missing.
Voting has also ended in Assam, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry. The vote count for these five assemblies is scheduled for May 2.
The voting panel called these seizures by its various technical and field teams a “historic milestone” achieved “for the first time in any assembly electoral process,” that is, during assembly elections held simultaneously.
“The stupendous increase in seizure figures is due to the Commission’s better preparedness and multi-pronged strategy. The Commission conducted comprehensive reviews at various levels that included review meetings with state / UT enforcement agencies and central agencies, “the EC said in a statement.
The Union government agencies mainly include the Income Tax Department, the Customs and GST Directorates and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
Based on data collected through Thursday, the EC said, Tamil Nadu had reported total seizures of Rs 446.28 crore, West Bengal Rs 300.11 crore (so far), Assam 122.35 crore, Kerala Rs 84.91 crore , Puducherry Rs 36.95 crore.
In addition, the seizure of cash, liquor, drugs and other gifts of Rs 10.84 million was reported in constituencies that saw secondary polls during the same period, he said.
The total value of these seizures is Rs 1001.44 million, while in these five assemblies it was Rs 225.77 million during the 2016 assembly polls.
A pie chart analysis shows that while liquor (Rs 41.97 crore out of the total Rs 122.35 crore) was the gift that was being pushed the most to attract voters in Assam, precious metals (Rs 27, 42 crore out of the total Rs 36.95 crore) were used most frequently. as a bribe to attract voters in the Puducherry Union Territory.
Similarly, in Tamil Nadu, cash (236.69 million rupees out of the total of 446.28 million rupees) was most abused as electoral bribery, while in Kerala precious metals were used the most for attract voters (50.86 crore from 84.91 crore).
In West Bengal, where the remaining four phases of voting are scheduled for Saturday, followed by April 22, 26 and 29, drugs and narcotics are the highest category of illegal incentives seized so far (118.83 million rupees out of the total of Rs 300.11 crore).
The EC said it had deployed a total of 326 spending observers, including five special spending observers, for the free and fair conduct of these elections, while 259 assembly seats were marked as ‘spending sensitive’ by what it called “focused vigil” to verify the flow of black money and gifts.
Under the law, the distribution of cash and gifts during the electoral process with the intention of influencing voters is not allowed and such spending is included in the definition of “bribery”, which is a crime in both IPC 171B as in the Law of Representation of the People.
“Spending on such items is illegal. The campaign against the threat of monetary power will continue in force in the remaining phases of the elections and the seizure figures are expected to rise further,” the EC said.

Times of India

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