On the surface, everything seemed to be calm in RN Palayam in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district on Tuesday afternoon, shortly before President Ram Nath Kovind accepted the Election Commission’s recommendation that the April 18 elections in the constituency be cancelled over allegations that voters were being bribed.

On April 1, Income Tax officials said that they had seized Rs 11.48 crore cash from a cement godown belonging to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Treasurer Durai Murugan.

It didn’t take more than casual conversations, though, residents of the working-class neighbourhood with predominantly Muslim population, to express their anger and disappointment with the commission’s decision.

“Why should polls being cancelled only in…



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