Even as polling day in Tamil Nadu looms closer with each passing day, it appears that political parties are resorting to desperate measures in their quest for power. While Tamil Nadu tops the list of states in cash seizures across the country prior to elections, preparations seem to be on for April 18 ie polling day too. At a campaign event for alliance partner AIADMK’s Lok Sabha and bye-poll candidates in Kalpakkam, Pattali Makkal Katchi(PMK) leader Anbumani Ramadoss seemed to hint at a booth capture.
While AIADMK members stand behind the Former Union Minister, Anbumani launched into an attack of the DMK-Congress alliance stating, “All parties in our(AIADMK) alliance are parties with vote banks. In the opposing team, DMK alone has some votes. None of the other parties in their alliance have any votes.” Even as Anbumani exudes confidence at his alliance’s electoral prospects, he asks cadres present at the venue, “Okay then what will happen in the elections? What will happen in the booth? We will only be at the booth.” As party officials grin from behind the PMK leader, a smiling Anbumani cryptically asks, “Do you understand or no?” A rousing applause is heard from the cadre even as the AIADMK candidates smile at Anbumani.
“We will only be there. Then what? Do I need to say it out loud? You understood, right? That’s all, it’s done. Both of them have won.” he says, pointing at the AIADMK’s Lok Sabha candidate Maragatham Kumaravel for Kancheepuram(SC) and Thiruporur bye-election candidate S Arumugam.
Continuing in this vein, Anbumani also urges cadres, “There is no one in the opposing team to question us. So keep all this in your mind. My intention is that this region has to develop and that good plans should come here.”
Anbumani’s speech appears to hint at a booth capture, a method of electoral fraud well-documented in the state. Cadre of a party are known to take poll booths hostage, illegally casting the votes of the constituents. Speaking to TNM, DMK Organising Secretary RS Bharathi says that the DMK has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission.
“Anbumani Ramadoss is stating in the open that they would capture polling booths. We are suspecting if this means that the police would also be colluding with them on this inside the polling booth. Does this mean that booth agents of other parties and candidates won't be allowed? They(the AIADMK alliance) are rattled by opinion polls that predict a DMK victory. This was done in 2014 too using Section 144, so we have asked for a paramilitary force to be deployed. The Election Commission has to reply within a day or so, failing which we will seek legal remedy.”