RK Nagar bypoll: 77 percent voters cast ballot amid EVM malfunctioning, TTV Dhinakaran video controversy

Ayswarya Murthy | Dec 20, 2017 | 4 min read

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77.7% voters turn up for RK Nagar bypoll

Strap: 2G verdict a relief to DMK, others downplay the event

Byline: Ayswarya Murthy/101reporters

Chennai: The by-election for the RK Nagar constituency, left vacant after the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa December last year, saw a voter turnout of 77.7%. Fifty-nine candidates are in fray for the constituenc

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y. The results would be out on 24 December.

D Karthikeyan, Chennai district election officer, said that 75.92% men, 79.21% women and 17.17% identified as ‘others’ cast their votes. RK Nagar had witnessed 67.69% polling in 2016 and 72.72% polling in 2011 assembly elections. In 2017, the constituency had an electorate strength of 2,28,234,  comprising 1,10,903 men, 1,17,232 women and 99 transgenders.

The voting began at 8am at 256 polling stations and 2 auxiliary polling stations*. While the polling percentage was 11% at 10am, it soon picked up pace to reach 24% an hour later. At 3pm, 59.24% polling was recorded from all booths.

Some raise issues on EVMs

BJP candidate K Nagarajan, who alleged that his name was pushed to the end in the EVM, said he has filed a complaint with the EC. Nagarajan further alleged that 178 machines were not blinking and beeping after pressing of buttons. The state election commission, however, refuted the allegations, barring two incidents.

AIADMK leader and independent candidate TTV Dhinakaran too found an EVM malfunctioning at a booth in Kasimedu, it was reported.

2G verdict breather

The day brought good news for DMK as all the accused in the 2G scam, including main accused former Union minister A Raja and DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter MP Kanimozhi, were acquitted by a special court. The CBI plans to challenge the verdict in the Delhi high court.

Madhavaram S Sudharsanam, DMK’s secretary for Chennai north district, said, “We are all very happy about the 2G verdict. I can’t know how much, but I am sure it would have impacted the voting today. We always had a good chance of winning the seat, which has now increased.”

Meanwhile, speaking to 101Reporters, AIADMK candidate E Madhusudhanan said that his party had an edge over others due to the welfare schemes initiated by the late CM J Jayalalithaa. “I believe that people would have voted for us and trusted the party. While I do not wish to comment on the 2G verdict, I am hopeful this may not have changed their voting preference (within a day).”

I don’t respond to clown, says TTV

Sudharsanam also alleged that TTV Dhinakaran’s minions tried to coerce voters by giving them Rs 20 and a coupon. “They said that if their candidate won, the coupon can be reimbursed for Rs 10,000.” He also alleged that this was happening across the constituency and they have filed a complaint with the EC.

Dhinakaran’s election agent and disqualified MLA, P Vetrivel, who on Wednesday released a video clip of Jayalalithaa on a hospital bed, has a complaint registered against him for violating the model code of conduct.

TTV said he doesn’t condone Vetrivel’s actions, but as a friend he can understand the motivations. TTV also said he doesn't fear EC’s repercussions because he had nothing to do with video’s release, like Vetrivel had admitted.

Moreover, TTV was of the opinion that neither the video nor the 2G verdict would have any impact on the results. He also said at a press conference that he won’t respond to the allegations of “clowns” who alleged his followers had been distributing money.

*When the number of voters exceeds 1,400 (urban areas) in any polling stations, auxiliary polling stations are set up

(Ayswarya Murthy is a Bangalore-based journalist and a member of 101Reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters.)

 

 

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