Perhaps for the first time in Tamil Nadu's political history, District Collectors have been asked to clamp prohibitory orders starting 6 PM today ahead of the April 24 Lok Sabha polls in an apparent effort to stop last minute money distribution.
"The campaign ends at 6 PM. We have asked Collectors to proclaim (orders under) Section 144 Cr.PC till 6 AM on April 24th, the polling day," Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Praveen Kumar told reporters here. Asked what prompted the authorities to decide on clamping such prohibitory orders, Kumar reasoned that it was "based on the general feedback on money distribution", besides preventing law and order problems.
The EC had come across similar experience in the 2011 Assembly elections also "and we learn from experience," he said, adding Tamil Nadu was not the only state where such orders would be in force, but also others like Karnataka, where one-phase polling was held on April 17.
Over 2.93 lakh polling officials and police and non-police security personnel, including central security forces, will be deployed during polling day, he said.
Appealing to voters to vote "ethically," he said that besides electoral photo identity cards, other documents including passport, passbooks of banks and post offices with photos, PSU I-D cards, PAN, Aaadhaar and NPR cards will also be accepted as proof of identity to cast vote. So far, cash and non-cash material in excess of Rs 50 crore have been recovered following implementation of model code of conduct, including a recent seizure of Rs 94 lakh at Tiruvannamalai, he said.
A total of 2,835 cases regarding violation of model code of conduct had been filed, he added.