Written byRamya Patelkhana
The Election Commission (EC) declared it has seized a whopping Rs. 3,439cr across India this polling season.
This is the highest amount ever seized by the poll body during a Lok Sabha election. During the 2014 polls, seizures worth Rs. 1,200cr were made.
Tamil Nadu topped this year's list with Rs. 950cr-worth seizures followed by Gujarat with Rs. 552cr and Delhi with Rs. 426cr.
This year, the EC received about 500 complaints of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) violations against election candidates and parties since 10 March.
Notably, around 6 of these complaints were against PM Narendra Modi who, however, was cleared of MCC violation charges.
The poll body also faced severe criticism for clearing PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah of charges of MCC violations.
However, ahead of the final phase of LS polls, EC might take a call on cases related to MCC violations against PM Modi, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, and BJP Bhopal candidate Pragya Thakur.
This year, EC also barred several candidates violating MCC from campaigning for a stipulated period. They include UP CM Yogi Adityanath, BSP chief Mayawati, SP's Azam Khan, Congress's Navjot Singh Sidhu.
The ongoing 2019 General Election marks an election of many firsts for the EC.
For the first time ever, the EC invoked the powers under Article 324 of the Indian Constitution.
It invoked Article 324 to revoke polling in Tamil Nadu's Vellore LS constituency over bribery and then to cut short the campaigning period by 19 hours in West Bengal for the final phase.
Also, it is for the first time that 1.11 million VVPAT (voter-verified paper audit trail) machines are being used by the EC for polling across India. Another first this polling season for the EC was taking down social media posts that "vitiated" the election process.
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