Hyderabad: The Election Watch, a social service organization functioning as a watchdog during election times, has expressed serious concern over the blatant misuse of money and liquor to entice the voters in the Kadapa Lok Sabha and Pulivendula Assembly constituencies in the ensuing by-elections.
A two-member team on behalf of the Election Watch comprising its State Convenor, Mr V. Laxmana Reddy, and Mr K. J. Rao, former Advisor to the Central Election Commission, toured various villages under the purview of the Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency on May 1 and 2 to study the ground realities persisting in those villages during the election period.
Briefing media about their findings, Mr Laxmana Reddy was aghast to find continuous distribution of money and liquor in the villages. Though the distribution of money has not been found openly, the operation was taking place clandestinely. So is the case with the supply of liquor. “Thus there is a need for the Election Commission to ensure that money power and liquor supply do not influence the electorate”, he observed.
The Election Watch was also apprehensive of local leaders indulging in mass rigging by threatening the electorate. It was pointed out here that during the 2009 elections, 1.5 lakh votes were cast by local faction leaders for their own candidate. This trend of local leaders holding sway in the villages should be put an end to, the Election Watch wanted.
The former chief justice of Allahabad High Court, Mr A. Lakshman Rao, pointed out that though banners and wall posters were not seen in the constituency due to the strict election code in force, the hotels and lodges were occupied fully by the supporters of the local leaders. All their expenses should be added to the expenses of the candidates on whose behalf they were working, he observed.
Dr Rao Chelikani and Mr Srinivas Reddy of the Election Watch also appealed to the Election Commission to take all measures to ensure free and fair polling by providing the required security and protection to the electorate at all polling booths.