Challenging the decision to hold it on May 23, BJP and PMK had moved the High Court, seeking further postponement of polling.

news Assembly Polls Saturday, May 21, 2016 - 10:03

The Election Commission of India has decided to postpone elections to Aravakurichi and Thanjavur assembly constituencies by three more weeks.

Orginally scheduled to be held on May 16 along with other constituencies in Tamil Nadu, polling to the two segments was deferred till May 23 due to charges of bribing of voters.

Challenging the decision to hold it on May 23, BJP and PMK had moved the High Court, seeking further postponement of polling.

On Friday, the EC made a submission in the High Court about further deferring when petitions filed by a BJP candidate contesting in Thanjavur and PMK candidate of Aravakurichi came up for hearing.

The Commission said it will make an assessment of the situation in the two constituencies and also consult all candidates before holding polls in the two constituencies.

After recording the statement by EC counsel Niranjan Rajagopalan, a vacation bench comprising Justices K Kayanasundaram and D Krishnakumar adjourned the cases to June for further hearing.

BJP's Thanjavur candidate M S Ramalingam and PMK's Aravakurichi candidate M Baskaran had moved the court, saying that deferring polls by merely by a week would not serve the desired purpose.

Though EC did not give any specific reason for its decision to postpone the elections, it had told the court earlier it had formed a seven-member committee to probe charges of money distribution and announcement of freebies for voters.

In his petition, Ramalingam submitted that the Returning Officer himself had recommended postponement of polls due to alleged corrupt poll practices.

He also alleged in the court that that a party candidate had distributed money to voters in Thanjavur constituency and he was apprehended by the Returning Officer and his team on May 14 after complaints were made.

On the Returning Officer's complaint to EC, cases were registered and some party cadres arrested, too, he said.

He wanted the court to order postponement of the polling to the two constituencies.

Similarly, PMK s Aravankurichi candidate Baskaran wanted a court direction to EC to conduct a thorough inquiry into the charges before taking appropriate decision on conducting elections on a different date.

Rabu Manohar, counsel for RSS, welcomed the decision and said the Commission must finalise a new date after consulting all parties concerned.

DMK leader M K Stalin, who had campaigned in Aravakurichi on Wednesday, reached Thanjavur on Friday for electioneering by the time the Election Commission decision was conveyed in the High Court.

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