RK Nagar by-polls: EC removes names of 45,000 fake voters after DMK petition

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RK Nagar by-polls: EC removes names of 45,000 fake voters after DMK petition

The Election Commission has said that the names of 45,000 fake voters have been removed ahead of the RK Nagar by-polls to be held before December 31.

Hearing a petition filed by the DMK seeking the removal of fake voters from RK Nagar constituency before proceeding for a by-election, the Election Commission has said that 45,000 such names have been removed from the list.

The DMK's council has said that even 50 or 100 votes can make a huge difference in the polls.

Jayalalithaa had contested twice from the RK Nagar seat - first in 2015 after being released from the Parappana Agrahara Jail by the Karnataka High Court following her conviction in a DA case by a trial court in 2014. The second time she fought from RK Nagar was during the 2016 assembly polls.

The constituency fell vacant after the demise of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in December last year. By-election in the constituency was stopped after several political parties levelled allegations of a cash-for-votes campaign.

The by-election, which was announced for April 12, was cancelled. The poll panel had then said, "Allowing the current electoral process to proceed and conducting polls in the constituency in such a vitiated atmosphere will severely jeopardise the conduct of free and fair elections."

The decision was made post the income tax raids that were conducted in Health Minister Vijayabhaskar's residence. The I-T department had named seven senior ministers of the AIADMK, including Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, Forest Minister Dindigul Sreenivasan and Finance Minister Jayakumar and had observed in its report that close to Rs 90 crore was spent to influence voters in supporting TTV Dinakaran, who was the party's candidate.

During the hearing of DMK's case for removal of fake voters from the RK Nagar seat, the Election Commission confirmed that 45,000 such fake voters had been removed from the list.

The Madras High Court has iterated that RK Nagar by-polls will be conducted before December 31. Following the assurance of removal of fake voters, the court has instructed the Election Commission to go ahead with the by-election preparations.