In the Tamil Nadu rural local body polls, the Independent candidate who was allegedly dispensing fake gold coins to bribe the voters in Kolumanivakkam panchayat lost by a margin of 147 votes on Tuesday.
The Election Commission today took the votes polled in rural local bodies of nine reorganized districts in Tamil Nadu for counting. The rural local body polls were held to 27,003 posts in the nine districts in two phases- the first phase held on October 6 and the second phase of polling held on October 9. During the polls, there was an incident of an independent candidate named- Sarathi Vinayagam who contested for the post of Panchayat President of the Kolumanivakkam Panchayat. Allegedly, during the second phase of polling, his supporters handed out gold coins to voters asking them to vote on the auto symbol (in which Sarathi contested).
After the polling, while few people went to pawn the coins, they came to know the coins were brass coins and not gold. Other candidates have demanded that action should be taken against those who fraudulently distributed coins to the voters and requested re-election in the panchayat.
A person who belongs to Kolumanivakkam panchayat (person who wanted to stay anonymous) claimed that “we felt guilty to have been cheated. On the day of polling, we were suddenly called alone and two men hid coins in our hand secretly claiming it to be gold coins and asked to vote for him.” Not only me, but many belonging to my panchayat have also felt cheated and we have pledged not to sell our votes in the future, the person added.
The second phase of polling in the panchayats under the Kunrathur Union took place on October 9, in which there were more than 2,500 voters in the Kolumanivakkam panchayat. However, many of the Independent candidates and candidates belonging to political parties competed for the position of Panchayat president and ward members.