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MNM stays away from Vellore LS poll, vote on Aug 5 (Lead)

Thursday - July 18, 2019 8:46 pm , Category : INDIA
Chennai, July 18 (IANS) The Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), floated by actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, here on the last day filing of nominations for the Vellore Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday announced its decision not to contest the poll.
The party said in a statement that it would not contest the Vellore seat, scheduled for August 5, since it was working to effect a change of government in the Assembly elections.
The election to the seat, originally scheduled for April 18, was postponed on the complaint of cash distribution and registration of several cases. In the absence of progress in these cases, the vote had increased the lack of confidence in elections and the Election Commission (EC), it said.
The Income Tax department had seized a large amount of cash from a cement warehouse belonging to a DMK functionary ahead of the vote.
While rescinding the vote, the EC had said it was "fully satisfied" that the electoral process in Vellore had been vitiated on account of unlawful activities on behalf of DMK candidate Kathir Anand and some of its workers.
"In the Commission's considered opinion, allowing the current electoral process to conduct the poll in the constituency on April 18, 2019, as scheduled, in such a vitiated atmosphere would have severely jeopardised the conduct of free and fair elections," the EC said.
The DMK-led front won 37 of the 38 Lok Sabha seats, polling for which was held on April 18.
The ruling AIADMK and the DMK have retained A.C. Shanmugam and D.M. Kathir Anand, respectively, as candidates for the seat. 36 people have filed nominations. Scrutiny of the nomination papers will be done on Friday and the last date for withdrawal is July 22.

--IANS vj/pcj