Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said there was a three-fold increase in the number of seizures, including those of cash and liquor, in the run up to Assembly elections held so far, The Indian Express reported. He said his statements were made in comparison with the 2012 polls.

“I would not like to comment on what was or was not intended with the demonetisation decision. I can only quote data. A major portion of the Rs 350 crore seized was in cash,” Zaidi told the English daily.

Zaidi repeated the commission’s demand that the Centre grant it increased powers to cancel elections in cases of voter bribery. “We have taken up the proposal [with the government] for the third time. The commission will cancel elections only on the basis of the report of the returning officer and observers and some credible evidence that there was large-scale distribution of money to voters,” he said.

While stating that there have not complaints of “pure hate speeches” this year, Zaidi said there was a need for separate provision for the matter under the Representation of the People Act.

Zaidi also dismissed parallels drawn between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s controversial statements at two rallies, reportedly encouraging voters to accept bribes from other parties. “In terms of the examination of their speeches, the two cases were found to be different,” Zaidi told the English daily.

While the election commission had ordered the filing of an FIR against Kejriwal, Parrikar was asked to explain his “cash for votes” statement.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on “graveyard and cremation grounds” at a rally in Fatehpur, Zaidi said the commission had issued a strong advisory on the matter and that it had had a “desirable effect”.