Evading the eagle eyes of the Election Commission, political parties in Tamil Nadu have come up with innovative ways to attract voters, the latest being the 'mobile contact' system, in which they contact the electorate over cell phones.
A practice next to impossible for the EC to check, the parties use local acquaintances to identify the voters, who are told to go to a tea shop or grocery store whose owners are loyal to a particular outfit and then given the money.
The strategy differs from area to area in rural and urban areas.
Instances of such money distribution have been reported from various areas, despite close monitoring by the EC to prevent distribution of money.
An election official who did not wish to be named said, that with people showing great interest to get booth slips, one could not say for certain whether this practice is an indication of their interest to exercise their franchise or their eagerness to get cash for votes.
A State Bank of India official said banks with core banking facility have suspended the facility to deposit money to account holders in any branch of their choice. This has been done to prevent depositing of money in Savings Bank accounts, he said.
It was during a bypoll in Tirumangalam assembly constituency in 2009 that the "cash for vote" was introduced by a political party. Some households with five or more voters in rural areas were even given cows and sheep.