Calling Tamil Nadu a “challenging case”, the Election Commission today it cannot “close its eyes to rampant malpractices” there and rejected the charge levelled by DMK and PMK that it has imposed emergency in the State.
“Can we be faulted for discharging our Constitutional responsibilities sincerely and earnestly? Can we close our eyes to the rampant malpractices?” Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi told PTI.
He was reacting to criticism by political parties in the State “for being over restrictive and for harassment”.
The Commission has enforced stringent measures to curb use of money power in the current round of assembly elections in States, especially in Tamil Nadu, where there has been widespread attempts to bribe voters by paying them cash.
Mr. Quraishi said that through a series of steps that are “unprecedented even by our own standards” officials have seized unauthorised cash of over Rs 53 crore in cash out of which Rs 42 crore are from Tamil Nadu alone.
Brushing aside the criticism from the two parties, he said that the poll panel was “not exceeding our powers. We are within our Constitutional mandate. Any criticism is totally unfair and we dismiss it.”
DMK chief M Karunanidhi and his ally PMK founder S Ramadoss have attacked the EC saying an emergency like situation has been brought about in the State while such a situation was not prevalent in the other poll-bound States.
“Holding free and fair elections is always the top priority. We also seek to make the polls peaceful, transparent and participative.
“We are enforcing expenditure control measures in great detail in these elections to check the role of money power. Tamil Nadu has been a challenging case. But we are doing our best and will not allow any let up,” he said.