A recent study conducted by People Studies has revealed that the cash paid to voters would have been a deciding factor in the RK Nagar bypolls. The bribe paid in the days ahead of the election had the ability to influence voters' decision the most, according to the study, according to a report by The Times of India.
This report was released a day after the Election Commission announced its decision to rescind polls, in light of outrageous amounts of money allegedly distributed to voters. A team from the research institute, People Studies, reportedly met 1,020 voters across 51 booth locations in the constituency.
The exercise was carried out between 1 and 9 April. The results of their study, which they released on Monday, made it clear why the Election commission had to intervene. It revealed that cash between Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000 paid by certain political parties over the last few days would have influenced voters’ decision the most, on polling day, among other variables.
According to the study, based on the cash distributed across the constituency, AIADMK (Amma)‘s TTV Dhinakaran was set to gain the most from this violation. He would have gained the support of 38.3% voters from the distribution.
He would have been followed by DMK's Marudhu Ganesh, who would have got the support of 29.5% voters. Even AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) candidate Madhushudhanan (8.7%) and Deepa Jayakumar (2.6%) were predicted to gain support.
Director of People Studies, S Rajanayagam, who conducted the study, told ToI that the cash paid to voters was the "supervening variable subsuming other variables" such as religion, credibility, caste or allegiance to a particular party.
"Irrespective of caste, religion, age, education, people did not feel guilty about accepting money," he told The Times of India.
The majority of the voters (65.3%) reportedly felt that the cash and gifts distributed would affect the final results, and only 15.5% felt there would be no impact.
On Sunday night, keeping in mind the impact of rampant voter bribing and corruption in the constituency, the election commission decided to scrap the polls temporarily. The move came after they collected evidence of election malpractice against the ruling government's ministers and leaders, in over 30 I-T raids in Tamil Nadu.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)
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