Unusual protest by voters in the Huzurabad Telangana
Just ahead of the polling, Telangana‘s Huzurabad Assembly constituency on Thursday witnessed an unusual protest by a section of voters.
The voters alleged that they did not receive cash being offered by some political parties for votes.
The by-election was necessitated by the resignation of Etala Rajender after he was dropped from the State Cabinet over allegations of land grabbing. He quit TRS to join BJP.
The parties aggressively campaigned for the upcoming polls. A day after the campaigning ended videos of the distribution of currency 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 Rs.6,000 to Rs.10,000 for every vote amongst the voters.
One of the videos circulating on social media shows a man opening a sealed cover with the picture of BJP candidate Etala Rajender and BJP’s ‘Lotus’ symbol on it.
He is also seen counting the currency notes valued at Rs.10,000. In another video, a woman is seen opening an envelope containing the cash.
Both the parties accused each other of distributing cash, liquor, and other items to lure the voters during the campaign.
As the news about the distribution of cash spread on Thursday, voters in several villages came out on the streets to protest and question local leaders of both parties.
The protesters included a large number of women.
Policemen on the 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.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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