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On polling eve, protests erupt in Andhra Pradesh demanding cash ‘promised’ for votes – Times of India

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VIJAYAWADA: A wave of demonstrations swept through at least five places across Andhra Pradesh on Sunday, with many people demanding money from political parties in exchange for votes. The issue is not new in the state, but as inflation rises, so does the price for votes. Sources said cash-for-votes in various assembly and parliamentary constituencies ranged from Rs 1,000 to Rs 6,000.Polling will be held in AP for 175 assembly and 25 LS seats on Monday.Campaigning concluded Saturday evening, but the alleged distribution of money continued in some places. In Palnadu’s Sattenapalli, voters from 18th ward took to the streets to protest, claiming they were promised money for their votes, but they never received it. Similar scenes were seen in Pithapuram, where voters near the office of a contesting politician protested. The party supporters allegedly promised Rs 5,000 for each vote, but failed to deliver on their promises to some women voters, prompting protests. The situation escalated, requiring police intervention to disperse the crowd.In Ongole, where Rs 5,000 per vote was allegedly distributed, triggering protests when some people were left out. In Kondevaram village of East Godavari district, many people staged demonstrations, alleging that they were excluded from receiving payments.According to sources, cash is being distributed in the offices of certain municipal corporators in Vijayawada. A man, who doesn’t want to be identified, said an MLA candidate from Vijayawada had dispatched a close associate to a corporator’s office, where Rs 1,000 was distributed in exchange for votes.For candidates lacking proper offices, arrangements have been made to gather their supporters and voters at specific locations, where sums ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 are being handed out to each voter. Aware of their rivals’ offerings, parties are reportedly giving Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 more than their competitors to entice voters, said a shopkeeper in Amaravati. The confrontations highlight broader concerns about corruption within the electoral system. “These types of protests are a clear indication of the need for stringent enforcement of electoral laws and a crackdown on corruption within the voting process,” said Lakshmaiah, a retired teacher. “Authorities must investigate and hold the guilty parties accountable.”In northern Andhra, candidates faced unexpected demands from urban voters living in apartments, group housing, and gated communities. Residential welfare committees in apartments have allegedly requested for generators and solar power, and blacktop roads in exchange for their votes.


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