People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 16

April  17, 2011




People Reject Money Envelopes


S P Rajendran


HAVING poured huge amounts of money in almost all the 234 constituencies in Tamilnadu by the time the heated electoral campaign came to an end on April 11, DMK men were reportedly seeking a ‘respectful defeat’ by the time of writing these lines.


Now we know, in Kolathur constituency from where the deputy chief minister M K Stalin was seeking election, nearly Rs 2 crore were seized by the Election Commission authorities on April 12.


In many places including Madurai, DMK men approached the voters house to house with money envelopes filled with Rs 500 each in order to bribe them. In several villages, towns and cities, they created sudden power cuts with the help of some electricity board officials and distributed money in darkness.


However, vigilant cadres of the AIADMK, CPI(M), CPI and DMDK caught them red-handed at several places.


Interestingly, the campaign against voter bribing elicited massive response from the people particularly in Madurai, where central minister M K Alagiri had unashamedly practised this crime against democracy. In many areas, the people reacted angrily and rejected the money envelopes given by DMK men. They categorically said their votes are not for sale.


DMK goons also unleashed violence at places. In Pennagaram constituency they brutally murdered a DMDK cadre when he was tried to prevent their bribing. The CPI contested this seat.


It was on such a note that polling for all the 234 assembly segments in Tamilnadu began on April 13 morning. About 4.6 crore voters came out to decide the fate of 2,773 candidates.


Political heavyweights whose fortunes are to be decided include chief minister and DMK president M Karunanidhi, his arch rival and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, Karunanidhi's son and deputy chief minister M K Stalin, and DMDK actor-founder Vijayakanth. In the fray were 12 CPI(M) contestants also, including state secretariat members A Soundararajan, K Balakrishnan, K Thangavel, A Lazer and the party assembly leader K Balabarathi.


People came out in good numbers early in the morning and queued up before booths as polling began under the watchful eyes of the security personnel. By the end of the day, 75.21 per cent polling was reported. 


In the union territory of Puducherry also, polling to elect 30 members to the assembly began on a brisk note. Here 83.62 per cent polling was registered, according to the EC.


Speaking to reporters after casting her vote at a polling station in Chennai, AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa, who is contesting from Srirangam, expressed confidence that her party and its alliance partners would win the polls and form the next government.


Even M Karunanidhi seems to have felt that the DMK-Congress combine was heading for its worst ever defeat. While he said after casting his vote that his party would win the Tamilnadu assembly polls, he also hinted at a possible coalition government. One notes that participation in the state government has been a key issue for its ally, the Congress party. During its tough seat-sharing bargain with the DMK, the Congress is said to have made a strong pitch for a share in power. It has been out of power in Tamilnadu since 1967 when undivided DMK’s founder, late C N Annadurai, had ousted it from power.