Indian election authorities have cancelled voting in a constituency in the southern state of Tamil Nadu after seizing more than 110 million rupees ($1.6m) they believe was meant to influence the outcome.
It is the first time a ballot has been cancelled in a national election over attempted vote-buying, officials said on Wednesday.
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The decision comes as Indians vote in a mammoth national election being held over several phases. The next phase of voting is scheduled for Thursday.
But voters in the Vellore constituency in coastal Tamil Nadu will not be going to the polls as scheduled after the Election Commission of India (ECI) ruled there were fears of a “systematic design to influence voters”.
The ruling came after authorities seized more than 110 million rupees in cash from a candidate in the run-up to the vote.
The ECI said late on Tuesday the environment in Vellore was no longer conducive to “free and ethical” elections.
No fresh date has been announced for polling in the constituency.
Now, the second phase of polling will be held in 96 constituencies in 13 states on Thursday. The first round of polling in the seven-phase election was held on April 11.
Almost 900 million voters are eligible to cast their votes to elect 543 members to the lower house of parliament – the Lok Sabha. The counting of votes would be done on May 23.
Attempts to secure votes in return for cash, liquor, electronic gadgets and even goats have been reported across Tamil Nadu in the run-up to voting.
More than 1.3 billion rupees ($18.7m) cash and one tonne of gold worth about $43m has been seized in the state since the polling dates were announced on March 10.
Polling deferred in Tripura
Elsewhere in the country, polling was delayed by five days for one constituency in the northeastern state of Tripura over security fears. Polls will be held there on April 23 instead of Thursday.
Voting for the Tripura (East) Lok Sabha seat will be held in the third phase of polling, scheduled on April 23, the ECI announced on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, in the country’s east, the famed Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed has been forced to leave India after he was found campaigning for a candidate from the opposition Congress party, officials at the BangladeshHigh Commission in Kolkata said.