Telangana’s Huzurabad bye-poll: Protesters demand money for votes from parties

According to the State Election Commission, as of October 27, Rs 3,50,01,027 in cash and valuables have been seized from the Huzurabad constituency, including liquor worth Rs 7 lakh and gold and silver worth Rs 10 lakh.
Protestors at Kamalapur mandal office in Huzurabad constituency
Protestors at Kamalapur mandal office in Huzurabad constituency
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It seems like the ‘cash for vote’ practice by political parties, which is an open secret, ahead of elections, has spilled into the streets. On Thursday, October 28, a group of people gathered outside the Kamalapur Mandal office in Telangana’s Huzurabad Assembly constituency to protest — but not against the practice. The protesters were allegedly unhappy that several political parties had not given them money for votes in the Huzurabad bye-poll, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 30.

Alleging discrimination behind not giving them money, the agitated crowd said that they would not leave the venue unless everyone got the amount. In fact, visuals from the protest site show women crying, saying it was unfair that others were being given the ‘money for votes.’ One man alleged that the ruling TRS was distributing an amount between Rs 8,000 and Rs 6,000, while the BJP was giving Rs 1,500 for one vote. 

Incidentally, according to the State Election Commission, as of October 27, the authorities have seized Rs 3,50,01,027 in cash and valuables from the Huzurabad constituency. This includes liquor worth Rs 7,13,440, and gold and silver worth Rs 10,60,000.

Watch: Protest over money for votes at Kamalapur 

Meanwhile, the All India Congress Committee in-charge for Telangana and Member of Parliament (MP), Manickam Tagore, shared videos of money being distributed, allegedly by the BJP, in an envelope, which has the photo of the BJP candidate and the party symbol. Accusing the Election Commission of being a silent spectator, he asked the authorities to cancel the Huzurabad bye-election. In a tweet, the MP said that democracy was being put on sale in Huzurabad and also alleged that the BJP National President JP Nadda was distributing money “earned from corrupt Sanhi Sarkar.” He also demanded that the ECI countermand the bye-poll.  

The Congress party announced that they will submit a representation to the Election Commissioner of India, Sushil Chandra, on Thursday evening, seeking the cancellation of the election. 

The protesters finally dispersed at noon after police intervention.

The Huzurabad bye-poll was necessitated following former Health Minister Eatala Rajender’s resignation as an MLA and TRS member, after he was unceremoniously sacked from the cabinet on the allegations of land encroachment. Following his resignation, the former minister joined the BJP and is the party's candidate for the election. The TRS has fielded G Srinivas Yadav from the Huzurabad constituency.

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