EC fast tracks monitoring of cash movements
With RK Nagar and Thirumangalam by-election formula of Tamil Nadu making case laws for Election Commission, the TN public election department poll officials in the state will have an early monitoring system of cash movement to prevent the distribution of cash for votes during the upcoming Assembly polls.
This year the movement of cash from banks, cooperatives, self-help groups and private banks will be started early when compared to the previous polls and the public election department is gearing up for early Assembly polls. The EC is also gearing up for conducting and completing the polls to five states, including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, West Bengal by May.
“Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Sathyabrata Sahoo has already conducted the first meeting with the Reserve Bank officials and the bankers to monitor the cash flow in the state that is due for elections in another three months,” an informed state official said adding that this intelligence will be shared with the expenditure observers and the flying squads when the model code of conduct is implemented. This preventive mechanism is fast-tracked based on the previous RK Nagar elections where the political parties were seen taking novel steps to distribute cash for votes, the official said.
According to public election department sources the voters roll and electronic voting machines will be ready by the end of January. And in about two months the additional polling booths will be ready, sources added.
TNSEC website last updated on Aug 15
“Power of people is the tower of democracy” reads a slogan in the website of Tamil Nadu State Election commission (TNSEC) with the last updated orders and press statements dating back to the last year Independence day, since then there is no update from the TNSEC regarding any official activities. The Commission vested with the job of filling up the council posts of local bodies in rural and urban areas has filled only the rural posts.
According to official sources with the state municipal administration department more than Rs 2,300 crores should be released by the Centre as performance grants and other grants to the TN local bodies, but for the past five years, these funds are not released by the Centre saying ‘no local bodies no grants.’
However, TNSEC has filled the posts related to rural local bodies and are awaiting grants, but availing Central funds for municipalities and corporations which is about 70 per cent of the grants is a bone of contention between state and Centre, sources said.
“From October 24, 2016, all local bodies, such as gram panchayats, corporations, municipalities and town panchayats, were lying vacant. Only last year half the posts were filled by the TNSEC. In my understanding the AIADMK government lacks the political will as it fears defeat so the local body polls are not held,” said former Chennai mayor M Subramanian. What stops the TNSEC from conducting local body polls. Even as the state Public Election Department has started the early election works for the upcoming Assembly polls, the TNSEC is clueless. Efforts to contact state election commissioner R Palaniswami proved futile.