AIADMK MLA R Kanagaraj is seen sitting next to stacks of packed liquor boxes in a widely-shared video
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu:
In footage that has deeply embarrassed Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK, its lawmaker is seen distributing cash and boxes of liquor allegedly to bring the crowds to a public meeting on Sunday to mark the party's grand "MGR centenary celebrations". R Kanagaraj claims has was distributing packed lunches in liquor cartons for party workers and cash for their commute.
Mr Kanagaraj represents the Sulur constituency in Coimbatore, where Chief Minister E Palaniswami addressed one of the multiple meetings held to mark the centenary celebration of the party's founder MG Ramachandran or MGR.
In the video that has been widely shared on social media, the lawmaker is seen sitting next to stacks of packed liquor boxes, a worker standing by with a pen and register. Another worker near him is seen counting what appear to be Rs 2,000 notes. It is alleged that workers were being assigned their quota of liquor and cash to be distributed to people in their areas to ensure their attendance.
Mr Kanagaraj said he had taken 60 buses full of people to the meeting. The video only showed what he paid for fuel for the buses, food and water packets for those who travelled to the venue, he insisted.
The same lawmaker had told reporters earlier that voters at RK Nagar - the constituency in Chennai where by-elections will be held this month to fill the vacancy left by the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa - would not fall to money power and would back the AIADMK against rebel TTV Dhinakaran.
The RK Nagar by-election was cancelled earlier this year amid allegations of voters being bribed with cash, liquor, milk tokens and even phone recharge coupons and mobile wallet payments.
Retaining that seat is important for the AIADMK, which has been battling feuds and rebellion since Jayalalithaa died a year ago.