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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Bangla campaign in West Bengal ~ Vellore election cancelled

In 2016, for the first time in electoral history of India, the Election Commission of India (ECI) based on reports of large scale distribution of money and gifts to elector by the candidates and political parties in two Assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu  decided to rescind the notification and conduct elections afresh in due course of time. After considering reports of Observers, Special teams of central observers, report of the special team of observers of Aravkurichi and Tanjavur Assembly constituencies and representations of contesting candidates of these two Assembly constituencies.

“The ECI is satisfied that the election process in the two constituencies Aravkurichi (134) and Thanjavur (174), because of inducing electors by candidates and political parties by offering money and other gifts to woo them in their favour, is seriously vitiated and cannot be allowed to proceed and ought to be rescinded so that fresh elections may be conducted de novo in these two constituencies when the atmosphere becomes conducive to the holding of free and fair elections after a reasonable lapse of time,” an official said.

Back in 1995, Rajnikant starrer Muthu was released.  Directed by KS Ravikumar, initially, it was blamed that the songs were not catchy, though later by repeats, it picked up.  Rajni even here is known for his style, speed, fight and action – but miles away, in Japan his dance sequence with Meena was hailed and the film was a big hit as Dancing Maharaja, acquiring cult status.  The movie was recently restored in 4K and 5.1 CH surround – and was directed at Japanese audience too. 

Bahubali was a real black-buster.  For most favourite character from SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali, would probably be – Baahubali, Bhallaladev, Kattappa, Devasena, Sivagami, Avantika or Bijjaladeva or Rajamouli or MM Keeravani.   But Japan – the country who is showering immense love on the Indian film, got obsessed over Kumar Varma. So much so, that it became an emoticon there !

Perhaps drawing analogy from all these, the Bengal CM felt the need to rope in help from across the border .. huge political storm has erupted in West Bengal over Bangladeshi film star Ferdous Ahmed campaigning for TMC candidate Kanahiya Aggarwal.  On Monday, Ferdous campaigned in Karandighi and Chakulia areas of North Dinajpur, while on Sunday, he is said to have participated in road shows at Raiganj and Hemtabad along with Tollywood actors Payel Sarkar and Ankush. The actor is said to be on a business visa.  It is clear that business visa does not allow such participation. 

More than all these, the Lok Sabha election to the Vellore constituency stands cancelled following recovery of huge amount of cash allegedly from a DMK candidate's office a few days ago. President Mr  Ram Nath Kovind rescinded the notification to hold the election to the seat based on the recommendation made by the poll panel. Polling in Vellore was scheduled for 18 April. The Election Commission took the decision after the district police had filed a complaint against the accused, Kathir Anand, as well as two party functionaries on the basis of a report from the Income Tax department on 10 April. Anand was charged under the Representation of the People Act for giving "wrong information" in his election affidavit filed along with his nomination papers, the police said. The other two, identified as Srinivasan and Damodaran, were booked under bribery charges. The recommendation was sent to the legislative department of the law ministry on Tuesday which issued the notification.

On 30 March, Income-Tax officials had conducted searches at the residence of Anand's father Durai Murugan over suspected use of unaccounted money for electioneering, and seized Rs. 10.50 lakh in alleged "excess" cash. Two days later, they claimed to have seized Rs 11.53 crore from a cement go-down belonging to a DMK leader's associate in the same district. DMK leader however denied and questioned  the timing of the Income Tax department's operation.  Whether it proper to cancel the election when one is caught – is it fair to the people, is it fair to other candidates, the debate would rage on.

There is another cancellation too – the  Ministry of Home Affairs has cancelled the business visa of Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed, who campaigned for the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. He has also been blacklisted.  More of election news -  addressing a rally in Thrissur, BJP chief Amit Shah alleged, "Under Pinarayi Vijayan government, 525 incidents of mob lynching and violence have taken place... The Kerala government also unleashed violence  on the devotees of Sabarimala in the name of implementing the Supreme Court order. What message does the Kerala chief minister want to send through the violence on the devotees?"  The Election Commission has sought report from the Katihar district magistration on Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu's speech in which he reportedly appealed to the Muslims not to split their votes.

A blot and shame for the democrary !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Apr 2019.

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