Kerala police says senior AIADMK members including OPS’s son are involved

Cash and gifts galore Kerala cops point fingers at AIADMK for electoral corruption in IdukkiImage: Manorama news
news Kerala 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 - 09:29

Politicians are known to recreate successful electoral formulas from the past in newer areas to gain traction, and the Kerala police in the district of Idukki neighbouring Tamil Nadu were witness to it when they confiscated several bundles of cash, gifts and other electoral bribes flowing in from Tamil Nadu.

The Kerala police now alleges that after distribution of freebies in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK is doing just that in Kerala’s Idukki district to win the few seats it is contesting here. The Dravidian party has decided to field 7 AIADMK candidates in the upcoming Kerala Assembly elections due to be held on May 16th.

In the Devikulam segment of the Idukki district, where there is a sizeable Tamil population, the AIADMK has been giving away freebies and cash to woo the electorate, say police. “Yes, we have seized cash and various items from the constituency. We are taking all the necessary steps to control the cash flow and distribution of free goods,” say Merin Joseph, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Idukki.

Speaking to The News Minute, Saji VN, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Special Branch, Idukki, said,” The distribution of freebies was more rampant during the Panchayat elections that were held in last November. SP Velumani, AIADMK minister for Municipal Administration and Rural Development and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Paneerselvam’s son had camped here ahead of the Panchayat elections. We had seized cash, sweaters, mundu and other things at that time. However, this time the AIADMK has changed its strategy. Now they are distributing cards to voters. The voters then take these cards to places like Kambam and get freebies and cash in exchange. Hence, it has become difficult to clamp down on these people.”

When asked media reports on distribution of freebies like laptop, mixer grinder, he said, “We had received complaints about distribution of such freebies. However, this happened before the elections were declared in the state. We have been asking people not to accept such bribes and have also asked them to inform us about such cases. We have also seized around 35 lakhs from across the district. However, we cannot be sure if they came from AIADMK.”

Pembilai Orumai, a group of tea garden workers in Munnar who shook Kerala with their independent struggle for rights in September 2015, is trying its luck by contesting in the state elections. The group’s General Secretary J Rajeswari is contesting from the Devikulam constituency.

Reacting to the distribution of freebies by AIADMK party workers, Lissy Sunny, President of Pembilai Orumai told The News Minute, “Why is the police and other parties in the district allowing such things in Devikulam? AIADMK have been distributing laptops and cash (Rs 500) here. But why is the administration not taking any action against such practices?”

The group is struggling to fund its own election campaign and when asked if the freebie and bribe culture could influence the voters of Devikulam, Lissy said, “They cannot win in Kerala. They are coming from Tamil Nadu. It is not easy to change the minds of people. They will definitely not succeed in influencing the voters of Kerala.”

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