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Meghalaya Assembly elections: How money is flowing like water to woo voters

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    Shillong, Feb 15: In poll-bound Meghalaya, money is flowing like water, literally. Like in other parts of the country, in Meghalaya too, political parties distribute money, booze and other goodies to entice voters during the election times. It's illegal and an open secret.

    However, this time, the rate at which money has been exchanging hands is unprecedented, state various reports.

    money

    The state is going to vote for the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly on February 27. Along with Meghalaya, two other states in the Northeast India too are going for polls.

    While the Assembly elections in Tripura are scheduled on February 18, Nagaland is voting with Meghalaya on February 27. The counting of votes in all the three states will take place on March 3.

    Authorities in poll-bound Meghalaya have seized over Rs 17 lakh cash from six persons in two occasions, officials said on Wednesday. A sum of Rs 4.62 lakh was seized in the Garo Hills region and the rest from a vehicle in Shillong, the state capital, late Tuesday evening, they said.

    In poll-bound Meghalaya, carrying cash over Rs 50,000 is prohibited unless officially proven, chief electoral officer (CEO) FR Kharkongor said.

    A sum of Rs 4.62 lakh was seized from five persons carrying hard cash at Ronipara village in Tikrikkilla constituency, West Garo Hills deputy commissioner Ram Singh told PTI.

    Meanwhile, sector officers deployed in the state capital seized Rs 13 lakhs in cash from a private vehicle and the person carrying could not produce evidence, officials said.

    Residents of the state admit that political parties do distribute money and booze among voters before elections. "This is an open secret. Political parties give money, booze and gifts to people to buy their votes.

    "Both the political parties and voters are to be blamed for rampant distribution of money and gifts before elections. Money power is the biggest malice killing the whole democratic process of elections," said a youth from Shillong.

    He added that officials of the Election Commission (EC) should take adequate measures to check distribution of money during the election times. "We hope the steps taken by the EC will help restrict rampant distribution of money, this time," said another youth from Shillong.

    In fact, the cash flow in the northeastern state has come under the radar of the EC.

    The Meghalaya Election office has asked all the banks in the State to monitor and submit reports on "unusual" and "suspicious" cash transactions exceeding Rs 1 lakh by candidates and their spouse to check cash flow in the February 27 poll.

    Meghalaya Assembly
    Party 2013 Current Standing  
    CONG 29 24 Election Date : Feb 27 2018
    Counting : Mar 03 2018
    IND 13 09
    UDP 08 07
    HSPDP 04 04
    NPP 02 02
    NCP 02 02
    BJP 00 02
    GNC 01 00
    NESDP 01 01
    OTHERS 00 00
    Total 60 51 (9 Vacant)

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