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2019/ two posts auctionedfor Rs 65 lakh

Bosco Dominique Dec 10, 2019 Times of India

In an open violation of the country’s democratic principles and electoral ethics, a panchayat in Cuddalore district passed a resolution on Monday to give another term to its former president and AIADMK functionary R Sakthivel after he offered to “donate” Rs 50 lakh for the renovation of a temple in the village and for undertaking other development projects.

The Nadukuppam panchayat near Panruti also resolved to elect DMDK functionary A Murugan, 36, as its vice-president after he promised Rs 5 lakh for the temple, villagers told TOI.

In a video circulated on WhatsApp, a village elder was seen reading out the resolution to unanimously elect Sakthivel and Murugan president and vice-president respectively of Nadukuppam panchayat “keeping in view the completion of renovation of the Sri Draupadiamman temple and for the betterment of the village”.

The village elders, who ‘auctioned’ the two posts in a meeting on Monday, passed the resolution and directed the two functionaries to pay up the money before December 15. The elders, in turn, promised that no one will file nominations for the posts if the two leaders give the money on time. There are 1,900 voters in the panchayat, which comprises eight wards.

Reacting to the villagers’ decision, Cuddalore district collector V Anbuselvan warned of stern action against the “undemocratic practice” of auctioning the local body posts. When asked whether the district administration can order an inquiry if people were elected unopposed to the panchayat posts, he said, “No. Elected unopposed is also a part of the democratic process.”

A former DMK councilor and Sakthivel’s elder brother R Adikesavan said the village elders auctioned the local body posts for huge sum of money. “I came to know about the undemocratic practice and alerted the media and district officials. It is neither politically nor personally motivated. I am former DMK councilor and currently not active in politics. I take up public issues and if anyone including my relatives indulge in unfair practices I register my protest,” said Adikesavan.

Denying that he took part in an auction for the president’s post, 42-year-old Sakthivel said, “It is a plot by the opposition camp, which has launched attempts to tarnish my name and image. I am not a zamindar to offer Rs 50 lakh. I hail from a family of farmers. I wanted to garner support of village elders, who gathered on Monday as I planned to file the nomination papers on Wednesday,” he said.

He has lodged a complaint with Muthandikuppam police station seeking action against “attempts to spread false information” to tarnish his image.

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