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n TN, when power snaps at night, it rains cash

Chennai, Apr 16 (IANS): Despite the summer heat soaring in Tamil Nadu, some people are praying for man-made power cuts at night -- so that contestants can stealthily hand over cash to voters.

Cash for votes in Tamil Nadu is no more a novel factor. It has become a part of election process.

With the Income Tax Department and Election Commission's flying squads seizing unaccounted cash, some political parties are reportedly waiting for the night to fall so that power supply can be switched off locally.

During the 2009 Lok Sabha battle, some parts of Chennai suffered unscheduled power cuts. Later it was said that the outage was the handiwork of some political parties for distribution of cash for voters.

MNM Pollachi Lok Sabha candidate R. Mookambika told IANS: "I heard money was distributed to the people in that locality by rival parties for the people to change their views."

In 2017, the Election Commission postponed the by-election for the R.K. Nagar Assembly constituency after complaints of large-scale voter bribing.

IT officials had raided the residences and business premises of Tamil Nadu Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar, his relatives as well as people close to him and his business associates.

"We have seized cash totalling Rs 5.5 crore. We have also seized documents showing Rs 89 crore changed hands in R.K. Nagar," an IT official had then told IANS.

In 2016, the EC had postponed polls for the Thanjavur and Aravakuruchi Assembly seats following reports of large-scale bribery of voters.

Cash for votes in a systematic manner began during the by-election for the Thirumangalam Assembly constituency in 2009.

After that it has become a statewide phenomenon.

According to reports, cash has been distributed in some Lok Sabha constituencies this time too.

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