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Wikileaks revelations underline ‘precipitous fall' in electoral ethics

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Forum for Electoral Integrity, a coalition of concerned citizens and non-governmental organisations working for free and fair elections, said on Wednesday that WikiLeaks revelations about voters being routinely bribed and votes purchased added strength to its position about the “precipitous fall” in electoral ethics and standards in Tamil Nadu.

Responding to the news report published in The Hindu on cash distribution during elections in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, the Forum, in a statement, said the public could no longer remain complacent about the degradation.

“Self-respect”, a convenient term invoked by political party leaders in the State when share in seats to contest elections was denied or disciplinary action contemplated by the Centre against the State government, conveniently vanished when voters' “self-respect” was violated through bribery, exploiting their poverty and economic situation.

As revealed by newspaper reports over the last few years and substantiated by the revelations through WikiLeaks, there has been a steady increase of cases involving “cash for votes”, distribution of household goods and articles of value, mass feeding and supply of liquor — all aimed at garnering the electoral support, the Forum said, appealing to political parties to commit themselves to free and fair elections.

The statement was issued by the Forum convenor, M.G.Devasahayam, and core group members S.P. Ambrose, N. Gopalaswami, A. Subramani, N.L. Rajah and Paadam Narayanan.

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