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Cash-for-vote not unprecedented in Lok Sabha

July 24, 2008 18:05 IST

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Contrary to the impression that display of huge bundles of money in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday was unprecedented, a similar scene was enacted in 1988 but the amount involved then was small.

In the aftermath of the death of MG Ramachandran, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham had split between Jayalalitha and the late actor's wife Janaki.

Months later, when only  a handful of members were present in the House, a backbencher of the Janaki faction, Thangaraj, sauntered into the House with a suitcase. Accompanied by members of his faction, Thangaraj rushed to the well of the House and opened the suit case to claim that a sum of Rs. five lakh was offered by the rival side to woo him back.

That instantly created a furore in the House and the then Speaker Balram Jakhar asked the member to handover the money to officials.  The money was later handed over to the police, which transferred it to the treasury and filed a case.  But nothing was heard of it later.

Natwar Singh, then a member of the Lok Sabha and a minister of state for external affairs, who was present in the House at that time, recalls that there was no no live television then and so nobody outside saw display of money in the House.

Unlike the prime time publicity that Tuesday's event got, this was a tame affair as there was no live telecast of the proceedings.

Three Bharatiya Janata Party MPs surprised the House on Tuesday when they opened a leather bag and took out bundles of currency claiming that a sum of Rs one crore was given to them as an advance of a bribe to vote for the ruling side.

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