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Distrustful of EC, AIADMK to boycott bypolls
N Ravikumar
Tribune News Service

Chennai, July 20
Expressing distrust over the "independent and impartial functioning" of the Election Commission and raising questions over its "capability to conduct free and fair polls", the principal opposition in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK today announced that it would boycott the bye-elections to the five Assembly constituencies in the state.

The AIADMK alleged that many candidates of the Congress and the DMK who had lost in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections had been declared victorious through "malpractices in the electronic voting machines and the machinations of polling officials and the police", a resolution adopted at the party's executive meeting at Connore said. It further said all its complaints to the Election Commission over the fraudulent means used by the DMK, including distribution of money to voters, had been ignored.

All the opposition parties in Tamil Nadu had expressed doubts on the use of electronic voting machines and had demanded that it should not be used in future. The US, Japan, Netherlands and Germany had banned the use of electronic voting machines, the resolution said. But, the Election Commission of India was being adamant in using the machines, despite objections by major opposition parties, it said.

The AIADMK which had ruled the state for 20 years, alleged that the presiding officers in many polling booths had increased the votes secured by the DMK and the Congress in many constituencies in the Lok Sabha elections, which led to the defeat of the opposition parties. This was the reason why the number of votes polled during the last two hours of polling was very high and the polling percentage in Tamil Nadu increased by 10 per cent.

When the AIADMK expressed its reservation over EVMs, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi in his reply did not stop with claiming that the victory of his party was real. He went on to assert that the use of electronic voting machines would continue in future, despite the fact that a decision in this regard did not fall within his ambit of powers, the AIADMK said. The Chief Minister's statement itself betrayed the fact the ruling party was benefiting through the use of EVMs, the resolution said.

The AIADMK executive meeting presided over by its general secretary J Jayalalithaa, charged that the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu was securing "fake victories" through malpractices in the electronic voting machines and misusing its official machinery to a large extent.

The DMK had removed the names of eligible voters and added the names of their supporters in the voters list, which was provided to the opposition parties before the Lok Sabha elections. The Election Commission of India was a silent spectator to the fraudulent methods of the DMK, which was burying democracy in the state.

The EC had announced that by-elections would be held to five constituencies which are considered a stronghold of the AIADMK and MDMK, which is expected to follow the decision of its major ally in the boycott.

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