They weren’t angry over issues like poor roads, erratic water supply or lack of development activities unlike in other places. But, the villagers of Pattanam were upset as they weren’t given money by political parties to exercise their franchise in the upcoming polls.
The protest by the villagers came as a shock to the officials of the Election Department, who were creating awareness against receiving money to vote.
Their grouse is that their village has been left out by the parties, although neighbouring localities were witnessing a free flow of cash ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 for a vote.
“We haven’t received a single rupee from any of the political parties. With just a day left to the polls, we have lost hope of getting anything from the parties,” the villagers have told police. An official of the Election Department however remained non-committal over the issue of money distribution by political parties.
“An investigation is underway to ascertain the reason for their protest to proceed with further action by police,” said V Sakthivel, Returning Officer of Rasipuram constituency.
The Rasipuram police have taken into custody five persons in connection with the protest and were ‘awaiting a report from the sleuths of the election department before booking a case against them.’
Despite intensive checks by flying squads, allegations of bribing voters have been doing rounds, thick and fast in several areas just a day ahead of the Assembly polls.
There has also been a spurt in cash seizures from the houses of party men and during vehicle checks by the Election Department suggesting that cash distribution is rampant in several parts of Western region.