CHENNAI: The principal opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) had filed a petition before the Madras High Court for conducting a free and fair election in the Erode East state legislative assembly by-election due on February 27.
The first bench of Acting Chief Justice T Raja and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy will hear the petition filed by AIADMK's organizing secretary and former minister C Ve Shanmugam. According to the petitioner, there is a massive discrepancy in the constituency's voters' list released by the Election Commission of India in January 2023.
In his affidavit, Shanmugam alleged that when his party workers conducted a door-to-door survey in the constituency, they came to know that the names of the deceased persons were not removed from the voters' list.
"The total number of voters in the voters' list is 2,26,876. Dead persons whose names continue in the list are 7,947 and the names found on the voters' list and not in the constituency were about 30,056. It is also noted that 1,009 names were entered multiple times in the voters' list," the AIADMK leader noted.
Shanmugam mentioned that these numbers are huge in view of the fact that the difference in the victory margin at the last election in 2021 was only around 8500 votes.
He further charged the ECI for not removing these discrepancies despite flagging the issues several times through representations.
"It is shocking to note that over 30,000 to 35,000 names on the voters' list are non-existent in the Constituency. The above categorical facts show that the District Electoral Officer and the authorities at the State level for the Election Commission are complicit while revising the voters' list for this Constituency. Given these facts, if elections were to be conducted, it would amount to playing fraud on our Constitutional values and the democratic fabric of our country," the former law minister's petition read.
Highlighting the above issues, the petitioner sought direction to the ECI and authorities to implement the necessary directions and recommendations issued from time to time to ensure the free and fair conduct of by-election in Erode (East) Constituency at the earliest including but not limited to installing CCTV facilities to monitor the election events, deployment of CISF/CRPF in the constituency, verification through ID cards instead of booth slips for the voters.
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