The Telangana assembly elections can be said to be one of the costliest elections ever held if one were to go by the amount of cash seized by police before the polling is held on Friday.
According to Telangana chief electoral officer Rajath Kumar, nearly Rs 137 crore, including Rs 125 crore in cash, has been seized by the police authorities across Telangana state till now, since the announcement of election schedule in the first week of October.
This is nearly Rs 50 crore more than the amount seized during the 2014 assembly elections held for the combined Andhra Pradesh.
“Apart from cash, over 10 lakh litres of liquor was seized across the state over the last one month, besides unaccounted gold and silver ornaments and other material apparently meant for luring voters,” he said.
Another election official, who preferred anonymity, said, what was seized was not even 10% of what is being spent by the political parties to woo voters.
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“Almost all political parties have been splurging money heavily to win the keenly contested elections. For the last two days, money has been flowing unabashedly,” he said.
The candidates have been adopting ingenious ways of transferring money from one part to another. “While most of the candidates use hawala routes to transport money through business houses, jewellers and wholesale dealers, others are carrying money discreetly in vehicles,” the official said.
Two days back, police seized Rs 5.8 crore from a car near Pembarthy checkpost in Jangaon district. The cash was sewn into the seats of the car and during inquiry, it was revealed that the money was meant for distribution among two Congress candidates and a TDP candidate.
Similarly, the Hyderabad police busted a hawala money transfer racket and seized Rs 3.13 crore in cash, being taken to Sangareddy. They also seized gold biscuits worth Rs 60 lakh. In another incident, the police arrested a pearl merchant near Charminar, who was supplying hawala money to political leaders by taking 1-10% commission.
On Friday too, the police had seized several lakhs of rupees in cash during their search operations in different parts of Telangana.
“There have been reports that money is being sent to voters even using delivery boys working for various courier companies and food suppliers,” the EC official said.
Opposition parties of Praja Kutami (People’s Front) on Thursday alleged that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) was distributing money to voters with the help of media outlets run directly and indirectly by the incumbent ruling party in the state.
The Prajakutami or ‘People’s Front’ also complained to Telangana’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Rajat Kumar over the same.
In a joint letter, Telangana TDP chief L Ramana, Palla Venkat Reddy from the CPI, G Vidyadhar Reddy from the TJS and V Hanumantha Rao from the Congress alleged that channels promoted directly or indirectly by TRS party have been carrying money in their media vehicles for distributing it to voters.
“Even ambulances are also being used for the purpose,” they alleged.
Over 2.8 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 1,821 candidates in 119 constituencies. Election authorities have made elaborate arrangements for the peaceful and smooth conduct of the polling process in 32,815 polling stations.
Over 50,000 security personnel including 18,860 drafted from neighbouring states and central forces were deployed as part of the massive security arrangements.
First Published: Dec 06, 2018 19:52 IST
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