Over a ton of gold seized a day ahead of polls shows the depth of the rot in Tamil Nadu

The raid by Income Tax officials on the residence and properties of DMK treasurer Duraimurugan at Katpadi located in the city of VelloreBCCL

  • More than half of the ‘precious metals’ seized in India have been confiscated in the state of Tamil Nadu.
  • Just one day before polls open in Tamil Nadu, 1,350 kilograms of gold were seized in the state’s Thiruvallur district.
  • In Vellore, one of Tamil Nadu’s constituencies, the elections have been cancelled because the ECI found that cash was being exchanged for votes.
Votes in India are often sold— for drugs, money, gold, liquor and anything else that is up for grabs.

In the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the gravity of the situation is exhibited by the fact that 1,350 kilograms of gold was seized just one day before the polls were set to open on April 18 in Thiruvallur district.

The southern state of Tamil Nadu is one of the worst when it comes to bribing voters. This time too it has topped the list of the highest amount of cash seizures in the country. Between the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Income Tax Department, a total of ₹2.08 billion ($30 million) of cash, 215,000 litres and 1,667 kilograms of precious metals have been confiscated in Tamil Nadu ahead of the 2019 elections so far.


In 2017, the bypolls in RK Nagar after the death of J Jayalalithaa were cancelled because of politicians trying to buy votes. Even before that, in May 2016, the State Assembly polls were cancelled in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur — marking the first time that an election was cancelled in India because voters were being bribed.

Bribes from political parties to voters, in the form of cash, goods, or services, are a regular feature of elections in South India. Poor voters expect bribes from political candidates, and candidates find various ways to satisfy voter expectations.

Frederick J. Kaplan in a cable to the US State Department


On April 1, officials from the Income Tax Department seized ₹110 million from the warehouse of a political worker where it was organised by ward to distribute among workers in Vellore, one of Tamil Nadu’s constituencies. The elections were subsequently cancelled because the ECI found that cash was being exchanged for votes. Allegedly, more than 91% of the money found was in denominations of ₹200 and source from one of the bank branches in the district.

Coming election is an opportunity for you. Don't forget your duty to vote and do it ethically without selling it.

Kamal Haasan while campaigning for MNM candidate, Sampath Ramadoss

Coming election is an opportunity for you. Don't forget your duty to vote and do it ethically without selling it.

Kamal Haasan while campaigning for MNM candidate, Sampath Ramadoss

Kamal Haasan, an actor turned politician from the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) party, has been urging voters to not sell their votes. However, he is only a small player and the dirty underbelly of India’s politics is much bigger.

There is little evidence that voters are paying heed to his advice as the incidence of voter bribery continues to rise in the state.

Even the opinion polls have predicted a landslide win to the coalition between Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Congress. MK Stalin, the DMK President, is pegged to be the most popular leader in the south Indian state.

See also:
Tamil Nadu’s angry voters have a small oil field, a big highway, a medical entrance test, and a police shootout in mind

Election 2019 DMK Candidate list for Tamil Nadu

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