The EC’s task got more complicated with the release of a video purportedly showing Jayalalithaa during her treatment in hospital.
Chennai’s high-profile R.K. Nagar constituency will hold a byelection Thursday to fill the Assembly seat held by J. Jayalalithaa until her death. Voters here have been flooded with offers of cash and gifts. This got so brazen when the bypoll was due last April that the Election Commission cancelled the vote. But this time the EC has been trying to justify holding the poll as it says seizures of cash-for-votes were lesser in number and amount.
The kind of events reported from R.K. Nagar over the past month suggests the model code of conduct is being flouted by most parties, whose representatives are lining up to bribe voters. The EC’s task got more complicated with the release of a video purportedly showing Jayalalithaa during her treatment in hospital. The video, released by the Sasikala camp which claims the Jaya legacy in Tamil Nadu’s politics, may help garner them votes as the late CM’s confidante and aide was seen as a suspect in managing Jaya’s end-of-life episode.
The EC’s reaction has been pedantic so far as the video is concerned. Its muted response to the open distribution of cash was also an indication it somehow wanted to conduct the poll. The election has not only proved politically ticklish but also an embarrassment to the very concept of democracy based on free and fair polls. In the interest of preserving the fair name of democracy, the byelection should have been cancelled yet again, even if it is politically important for a state aiming to move on after the loss of a charismatic leader.