Hyderabad: The Election Watch on Monday felt that the web-casting system adopted for Kadapa by-elections remained a farce as 75 per cent of webcasting units were dead at the time of polling. It also opined that the sympathy and money power influenced the polling pattern in the Kadapa Lok Sabha and Pulivendula Assembly constituencies.
Speaking to mediapersons here on Monday, the Election Watch State Convenor, Mr V Laxmana Reddy, said the Election Commission has utilized the services of students of Idupulapaya IIIT for the purpose of web-casting by giving two-day training to them. The students had only knowledge of operating the webcams, but were not experts to rectify technical snags arose at the time of polling. In the by-elections, 75 per cent of web cameras did not work resulting in failure of webcasting of the polling process in most of the polling booths. Especially, the web-casting system did not work at hyper-sensitive polling stations, he added.
Mr Laxmana Reddy said that it was a welcome trend that the polling ended peacefully without any rigging. All the political parties have nominated their polling agents for polling booths in all but 15 villages. The people in some villages, who never exercised their franchise in the last 60 years got an opportunity to do so due to triangular contest in the by-elections, he added.
“In the villages of Kokatam, Devarajupalli, Chinnaputta, Machireddypally of Kamalapuram Constituency, Radhanagar, Kothapally of Proddutur constituency and Gundlaki\unta, Devagudi, P Sugumanchipally, Danavulapadu, Dharmapuram, Gorigenuru, Sunnapurallapalli and Nidijeevi of Jammalamadugu constituency, some local leaders forcibly sent out the poling agents of the main parties and resorted to rigging”, he alleged.
Surprisingly, voter list of a village revealed that there were only 30 families comprising 300 voters, he added. He said that some 20 ministers were camping in Kadapa for the last 20 days, but there was no polling agent for the ruling Congress in 20 villages. He said that it was also found in their study that the contesting candidates have distributed Rs 200 to Rs 2,000 to each voter.
Alarming trend in Kadapa
Claiming that Kadapa by-elections have opened up alarming and dangerous trend in politics and elections, Mr Reddy said such huge flow of money never witnessed in a by-elections since country got independence. He suspected that Rs 300 crores were spent by the candidates in the by-elections. The official machinery had concentrated only on check posts and vehicle checking. But, during night time, serpentine queues of voters in the colonies and bastis were seen taking money from a candidate. But the EC failed to take any step to check the illegal practice, he regretted.
“According to a survey, on an average 42 per cent of voters were selling votes for money in the country, but it was 75 per cent in Kadapa district. If it reaches 100 per cent, there would be no meaning of democracy”, he felt.
The Kadapa district Coordinator of Election Watch, Mr K Shanker Reddy, stated that the local leaders and the contesting candidates arranged food and shelter to 99 per cent of polling staff. It has sent wrong signals to the people. The EC has utterly failed to provide facilities to the polling staff, he bemoaned. (NSS)