Bangalore: Tamil Nadu bagged the second place in India in terms of cash seizures after the model code of conduct came into effect on March 10. Data proves that the cashflow down south has made the region the vote bazaar of the nation.

The model code of conduct came into effect on March 10, well ahead of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Despite restrictions, political party leaders and their supporters have dared to indulge in violating the code, by distributing cash and freebies to voters.

Tamil Nadu comes second in India in terms of cash seizures by the Election Commission and Income Tax sleuths. Here is how other southern states have contributed in making South India the vote bazaar of the nation.

Karnataka has been marred with I-T raids for about a month. A number of raids have been carried out against Congress and JD(S) leaders and supporters based on a tip off that they had accumulated money for elections.

Despite these raids, cash distribution is rampant in Karnataka. The video of Siddaramaiah's election rally in Kushalanagar on April 15, where Congress workers were seen distributing Rs 2,000 notes to few people, allegedly, to influence voters, serves as one of the many examples of these kinds of incidents.

Also read: Congress workers distribute money to Karnataka voters

Apart from this, raids were conducted in the star constituency of Karnataka - Mandya where chief minister's son Nikhil is contesting against BJP-supported independent candidate Sumalatha.

Mandya raids
Several raids have been conducted in state capital Bangalore, Hassan and Mandya. According to sources, the action is aimed against tax evaders and black money generators.

The I-T department conducted a raid at the residence of zilla panchayat president and Janata Dal (Secular) leader Nagarathna Swami in Maddur. Zilla parishad member Timme Swamy’s properties were also raided. Both Nagarathna Swami and Timme Swamy are close aides of Kumaraswamy.

On March 28, an I-T raid was conducted at the residence of JD(S) leader and Karnataka minor irrigation minister CS Puttaraju and several other locations in Bengaluru, Mandya, Mysuru and Hassan.

According to data released by the Election Commission, liquor worth Rs 33.59 crore was seized in Karnataka as on April 8. In addition, flying squads, static surveillance teams, the excise department and commercial tax officials in Karnataka also seized Rs 25.71 crore in cash. The total seizures amounted to Rs 63 crore.

Tamil Nadu

A total of 39 seats are going for Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu on April 18. In Tamil Nadu, Rs 202.12 crore cash has been seized so far. The total value of seizures including cash, liquor, drugs, metals and other materials amount to Rs 499.47 crore. Tamil Nadu officials’ seizure of precious metals amounted to Rs 1,640 tonnes until April 15. The materials amounted to Rs 285.89 crore.

I-T raids were also conducted recently in Tamil Nadu. The EC and I-T department raided the hostel of an MLA in Omandurar Government Estate.

Income Tax sleuths seized Rs 15.13 crore cash from the house of Poonjolai Srinivasan, a Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam functionary. He is a close associate of DMK Treasurer Durai Murugan in Vellore district.

The incident had such an effect that reports of cancellation of elections in Vellore made headlines.

Videos of chief minister Edappadi Palaniswamy distributing money to a voter in Salem was caught on camera. Supporters of deputy chief minister O Panneerslevam were also seen distributing money to people in Theni, where Panneerselvam's son OP Raveendran Kumar is contesting the election.

Also read: Palaniswami caught distributing money; Paneerselvam supporters follow same strategy

Andhra Pradesh
Income tax sleuths had raided various locations belonging to Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MP Galla Jayadev on April 9. According to ECI, Rs 137.07 crore worth cash has been seized in the state. As on April 8, the total value of seizures (including cash and other materials) of Andhra Pradesh was Rs 185.68 crore.

As of April 8, a total of  Rs 54.55 crore cash was seized in Telangana. Out of this total amount police seized Rs 35.34 crore and I-T sleuths seized Rs 19.2 crore. Liquor worth Rs 4.33 crore was seized, drugs worth Rs 2.78 crore, metals; gold, silver, etc worth Rs 27.96 lakh was seized in the state.

No incidents of seizure or I-T raids have been reported from Kerala, this Lok Sabha election. 20 constituencies in Kerala are going for election. Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Wayanad seat in Kerala.

We tried contacting the Election Commissioner of India and ECs of respective states, but they were unavailable for comment.