DMK president M.K. Stalin on Wednesday said that he had great faith in voters and remained convinced that they would not become slaves of money during the current Lok Sabha elections.
“This election will create a new trend. People of Tamil Nadu have vowed to defeat the governments at the Centre and in Tamil Nadu and distribution of ₹1,000, ₹2,000, ₹5,000 and more will not influence them. Even if the ruling party spends several crores of rupees, they will not succeed in their attempt to make them pliable,” Mr. Stalin told reporters in Chennai.
Alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had used the Election Commission like the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate to intimidate political rivals, Mr. Stalin said the cancellation of election to Vellore Parliamentary constituency was a case in point. The EC did not take cognisance of video evidence of the AIADMK distributing money in Theni and Vellore, he alleged.
Asked about the Income Tax raid on the house of DMK candidate Kanimozhi in Thoothukudi, he said it was aimed at intimidating her and demoralising the party cadre. “They thought the DMK cadre and the booth agents would be silenced by the raid. But our party cannot be cowed down,” he said.
Mr. Stalin said approaching the High Court against the cancellation of the Vellore election was unlikely to offer any relief, since the President of the country had given his nod to the decision of the EC. “We will consult legal experts before taking a decision on the issue,” he said.
Mr. Stalin also said he shared the apprehension expressed by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu about the possible tampering of electronic voting machines.
“We have been saying this. But people will rise above all these issues and vote for us,” he reiterated.
Rejecting Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s explanation that he gave money to a shopkeeper in Salem for buying bananas, Mr. Stalin said it was an attempt to deceive the people. “He could have given the money openly,” he said.