District Committee Secretary
CPI(M) Madurai Urban District Committee
The Chief Election Commissioner
Since the process of elections for the 15th Lok Sabha started, we have been compelled to send letters of complaint which are as many as 26 on various types of violations by the ruling DMK party in the Madurai Lok Sabha Constituency. Of these 26 letters, most of them were addressed to the Chief Electoral Officer – Tamilnadu. Copies of some complaint letters written to the District Election Officer/District Collector were also marked to the CEO-Tamilnadu. After the Central Election Observers were posted to Madurai copies were sent to them, apart from making personal representations to them.
The violations brought out by us were on a number of aspects and we would quote a few:
Ø A number of flex boards and posters were displayed by the DMK. The hoardings even obstructed traffic in the public roads.
Ø DMK Election offices were put up at unauthorized places. Despite the DEO ordered for removal of such unauthorised occupations, they were put up again caring too little for the Election authority.
Ø When Maha Kumbabihsekam of Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple was telecast live by a local TV Channel, there was a scroll advertisement seeking vote for the DMK candidate. Though the District Administration was immediately informed of this, it took three hours for the channel to stop the telecast.
Ø Posters for Sri Lankan Tamils put up by the DMK included the Election symbol.
Bribing the Voters by the DMK
Ø Token for performing arathis for the candidate were distributed by the DMK people during the campaign of the candidate. Later they gave money for this token. This was captured in camera and a CD shown to the press and also sent to the Election Commission.
Ø Saris were distributed to women voters through Self Help Groups. The SHG members were given money for distributing the saris.
Ø On the Akshaya Thrithaya day, arrangements were made to distribute gold/golden ornaments through jewellery shops.
Ø The DMK distributed Advance tokens using the party manifesto with the name and serial number of the voter for which money was guaranteed. This was done, despite the practice banned by the DEO.
Ø On 2nd/3rd May midnight, money was distributed to the voters in many parts of the Constituency with the help of goondas mobilised from various parts of the neighbouring areas. Known anti social elements including those who were earlier detained under the Goondas Act were pressed into service for this purpose.
Attack on the cadres of AIADMK alliance
Ø Even before the Nominations were filed, the DMK started indulging in violations of the Model Code. When such violations came to be resisted by the AIADMK alliance cadres, they were either attacked by the DMK or false cases were foisted on the very complainants.
Ø Mr.N. Nanmaran, CPI(M) MLA of the Madurai East Constituency was attacked with lethal weapons right in front of his house.
Ø The major attack was on 2nd/3rd May midnight, when AIADMK alliance cadres resisted the move of DMK men distributing money to voters. The hooligans brought from various parts of the neighbourhood brutally attacked our cadres. More than 20 of them with serious injuries had to be hospitalised. While a Corporation Councilor was a victim of the attack, interestingly the list of attackers included the Deputy Mayor of the Madurai Municipal Corporation.
Apathy of the District Administration and the Police
Ø Right from day one, the Madurai District Collector has been quite indifferent to whatever complaints on violations by the DMK that were brought to his notice. This even went to the nasty extent of the Public Relations Officer attached to the District Collectorate allowing his Office to be used for sending electoral advertisement through e-mail seeking vote for the DMK candidate Azhagiri.
Ø Despite many complaints to the Police Stations in the Constituency, especially in the Madurai City limits, no action has been taken against the offenders of law. This was manifest in the major violation of Model Code i.e., distribution of money. Detailed information regarding the modus operandi of distribution, the name of persons involved, registration numbers of vehicles used was given to the Commissioner of Police. He also assured to do everything in his power to prevent the distribution of money. But to our dismay, what happened later is diametrically opposite of what was assured. As we write this letter to you, the entire city of Madurai is now witnessing an interesting scenario in which the DMK is distributing money to the voters in almost all the wards of Madurai Corporation, with the Police escorting the DMK men. Popular media coverage would simply bear testimony to this fact.
Ø As matters stand to day, we have come to the inevitable conclusion that we cannot anymore count upon the District Administration and the City Police for a free and fair election in Madurai Lok Sabha Constituency. As we have already written to you in our previous letter, the District Collector and the Commissioner of Police are either afraid of the ruling DMK or they are willing partners in the DMK’s electoral game – for whatever reasons.
In such a situation that is not conducive for free and fair elections, our earnest appeal to you is as follows:
1. It is gathered that some criminals released from Madurai Central Prison in the recent times are likely to be used by the DMK to incite violence in the Constituency before and during the poll. Therefore we would request you to have a list of such known rowdies and take suitable preventive action.
2. We feel that the present size of the security forces may not match the present needs. So we would request you to see that additional forces are deployed for poll duty.
3. We sincerely feel that free and fair elections are simply impossible with the present leadership in the District Administration and the City Police on whose attitude and approach the lower officials are sold upon. Therefore, we would request you to arrange to replace these officials with those who would fit the bill.
We hope, you would appreciate the enormity situation that is confronting us and do everything possible of you in order to ensure free and fair poll.
Thanking you, yours faithfully,
Copy to Sri Naresh Gupta, CEO-TN, Chennai
Copy to Central Election Observers of Madurai LS Constituency