The Kumbakonam district administration in Tamil Nadu has identified a party functionary responsible for people crowding at a grocery shop for the last two days demanding free goods. Kanagaraj, a branch secretary of the AMMK in Karuppur had allegedly given Rs 2000 tokens to residents in return for votes to the party's candidate S Balumurugan in the constituency.
However, the tokens led people to Priyam Malligai agencies on Big Bazaar street to the perplexed owner Sheik Mohamed, who had not agreed to such a barter. As people began to gather at his agency after voting on Tuesday, the owner first put up posters stating that he had no connection with the token and will not take responsibility for them. Later when the crowds began to swell, he was forced to temporarily close the shop.
As word spread about what was clearly a cash for votes case gone wrong, District Collector M Govinda Rao directed the village administrative officer to inquire into the matter. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the AMMK party functionary was allegedly involved.
According to reports, he has been booked for bribing voters under Section 171E (Punishment for bribery) of the Indian Penal Code.
Speaking to the media regarding the incident on Wednesday, the owner said, "Some people are giving tokens to people and sending them to my shop. When I asked who did it, people were not revealing any information. I sent them away telling them to approach those who actually gave it to them. I have put up posters in front of my shop to make my stand clear."
Tamil Nadu saw polling in 234 constituencies on April 6 in the midst of several allegations of voter bribery and cash for votes accusations. Residents of the state alleged that both Dravidian parties and their allies had offered money in return for votes in multiple districts across Tamil Nadu.