A grocery agency owner in Kumbakonam, in the Thanjavur district, was in for a shock on Tuesday, when several people began to crowd around his shop, demanding free goods. They all carried tokens with ‘2000/-’ printed on it, which they claimed promised them items from the store for the amount of Rs 2000. The tokens were allegedly given to them by an unnamed Tamil Nadu poll candidate in exchange for votes.
Sheikh Mohammad, the owner of Priyam Grocery Agency was forced to put up posters clarifying that he had not agreed to any such exchange and even went to the extent of temporarily closing the store to avoid demanding voters.
According to Mohammad, who has been running the store for the past 25 years, he had opened his store as usual on Tuesday. But as voting proceeded, many customers began to approach the store with similar tokens. The token named his grocery agency and gave its address as well. In addition to this, it had the number '2000/-' on it. The voters however did not reveal the name of the candidate who promised them the free goods.
Following this, in an attempt to ward off these demands, the owner stuck multiple posters on the closed shutters of his store stating that he would not accept the tokens that had been handed out. The poster said, "There is no connection between me and the token given by the candidate. We don't take any responsibility for the token.”
Speaking to the media regarding the incident, he 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."
Reports further state that he temporarily kept the agency closed to prevent voters from coming to the establishment.
Polling took place in Tamil Nadu’s 234 constituencies on Tuesday. The weeks before the polls, however, saws several income tax raids and seizure of money throughout the state. Moreover, many residents told TNM that both Dravidian majors and their allies were offering money for votes in different constituencies.