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Poll Dope: Cash for votes in police jeep?

Last updated on: March 30, 2011 02:23 IST

Poll Dope: Cash for votes in police jeep?

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Missed out on the political buzz in the poll-bound states of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry? Here's your daily election dope

Once a close aide, now poll rival

Expelled Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Samir Putatunda will contest against Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in the coming elections as a candidate of the party for Democratic Socialism in the prestigious Jadavpur assembly seat.

Samir Putatunda, who was the South 24-Parganas district secretary, was expelled in the 90s along with his wife Anuradha Putatunda and then CPI-M parliamentary party leader Saifuddin Chaudhury for anti-party activities, which prompted them to launch the PDS later.

While Putatunda, once close to Bhattacharjee, is the secretary of the PDS, Saifuddin Chaudhury is its President. Anuradha has been fielded as a PDS candidate in Mograhat (west) constituency.

Samir was once a close aide of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. Putatunda said that PDS, supported by 12-party United Secular Democratic Front, would contest altogether 36 assembly seats in the first phase.

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Image: File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee

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Cash for votes in a police jeep?

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Cash for votes in a police jeep?

The Election Commission submitted before the Madras High Court that it has received information that money was being distributed in a police jeep in poll-bound Tamil Nadu.

The EC had filed a counter-affidavit on Monday seeking to vacate the interim order passed last week. The court had directed the EC not to conduct any search and seizure without the concerned authority arriving at the "subjective satisfaction regarding the nature and source of information."

When the matter came up before the bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam, senior counsel for the EC, G Rajagopalan said, "The information received from Departments of Central Government is very shocking. Even money is being distributed in police jeep."

"We have listed where the money was drawn and taken and in which house money was kept. We have seized 1/10th of the material of what we got information. Whatever information we have received up to March 27 we are submitting in the report. We have not mentioned the names of the officials (who collected details) as they should not be targeted," the counsel said.

"The money distribution (to voters) was done with meticulous planning. We are not able to deal with (a case of) such magnitude and are trying to deal with it. So far 2900 cases have been registered. We are going to take action against the police officers who distributed money. These cannot be anonymous information. Some names (of police officials) are really shocking," he said.



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Alagiri ko gussa kyun aata hai?

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Alagiri ko gussa kyun aata hai?

Union Minister M K Alagiri has said that he would take up with the Election Commission the reported remarks of Madurai District Collector U Sahayam that "if elections come, it is natural for the people to expect change."

Alagiri alleged the Collector had made the remarks on March 25 during a speech at Lady Doak College in Madurai. The Collector "had spoken like a partyman", he alleged.

Referring to Monday's seizure of Rs 10,000 by Revenue Department officials from the residence of Kottampatty union secretary in Madurai district, Alagiri alleged the officials had trespassed into the house and had abused him and he would complain to the EC about this.

Officials had said the seized sum was for distribution to voters for the April 13 Tamil Nadu assembly polls. Rejecting Alagiri's allegation, Revenue Department officials denied having used abusive language and said they had only done their duty. They charged that the DMK men were intimidating them.


Image: MK Alagiri

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Rahul for West Bengal

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Rahul for West Bengal

All India Congress Committee general secretary Rahul Gandhi will campaign for the Congress candidates in north Bengal for the first phase of the Assembly elections starting April 18.

"The campaign for the first phase will begin from April 13. We will try to get Rahul Gandhi either on April 13 or 14 to campaign mainly in North Bengal," MP and newly elected state Youth Congress president Mausam Benazir Noor said at a press conference.

Besides Yasmin and Oraon, contesting from Motabari and Mal seats respectively, five more Youth Congress candidates have been nominated as candidates. They are Samik Hossain (Domkal), Pratima Rezzak (Burwan), Uma Pada Bauri (Para), Ibrahim Molla (Canning-East) and Soumitra Khan (Kotulpur).

Apart from Gandhi, some other national-level Congress leaders would also campaign in the state during the six phases of the elections, she said.



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BJP big-guns boom in Assam

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BJP big-guns boom in Assam
K Anurag in Guwahati

The Bharatiya Janata Party has engaged all its stalwarts for electioneering in Assam, a state that is a top priority for the party among all the five poll-bound states.

Party president Nitin Gadkari has already done a few rounds of electioneering in the state and is slated to release the party's 'vision document' for development of Assam on Wednesday to emphasise on the party's focus on the region that is plagued with myriad problems of insurgency, illegal migration from Bangladesh and insurgency.

Senior BJP leader Vijay Goel, who is coordinating electioneering in Assam, informed that party stalwarts L K Advani, Narendra Modi, Arjun Munda, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley besides Smriti Irani, Hema Malini and Navjot Singh Sidhu have been assigned to campaign for the party in different parts of Assam and address election rallies.

Advani is coming to eastern Assam districts of Dhemaji and Dibrugarh on March 31 while Modi will hit the campaign trail on April 1, holding poll rallies in Central Assam and Eastern Assam. Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj have already done the first round of electioneering in the state. While Jaitley visited Sonitpur, Dibrugarh and Sivasagar districts, Swaraj hit the campaign trail in South Assam.



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Chidambaram's bee mantra

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Chidambaram's bee mantra

Senior Congress leader and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has asked party workers not to be distracted by traditional beliefs such as anti-incumbency and asked them to work like bees to ensure the victory of DMK-Congress combine in the April 13 assembly elections.

The party offices should be like "Wedding houses" with cadres moving around working like bees and they should shift to election mode and not lose hope, he told a workers meeting of Congress and the alliance parties in Sivaganga, his native district.

"There is no doubt that the DMK alliance will win more seats this time. There is not doubt in winning with better margin," he said.

He said the poll promises of the DMK, including free colour TVs and gas stove and Re 1 a kg rice, made in 2006 elections had been implemented. People knew who would keep  the promise, he said.



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