Months after the polls were cancelled in two TN Assembly constituencies – Aravakurichi and Thanjavur – due to evidence of bribery of voters, the Election Commission has announced the polling dates for the by-election.
According to a release issued by the EC on Monday, the Gazette notification will be issued on October 26. The last date for nomination isNovember 2, and the last date for scrutiny of nominations is November 3. Polling will be held on November 19, and counting held onNovember 22. The EC has ordered that the election should be completed by November 24.
In May, the EC had recommended cancellation of the polls in the two constituencies after large-scale seizures of cash, liquor, silver and clothing, and complaints from the public and candidates from smaller parties about donations by the AIADMK. While cash totaling Rs 7.12 crore, 429.24 litres of liquor and silver worth Rs 9 lakh was seized at Aravakurichi, cash totaling Rs 75,20,850 and 2,145.12 litres of liquor was seized at Thanjavur constituency up to May 15.
Besides these seizures, the EC also cited complaints from the public and from candidates of smaller parties on other alternate means used to distribute money through donations and gifts.
While elections have been cancelled because of rigging, violence or booth capturing, the EC said in a statement, this was the first time polls were being cancelled because of bribery of voters. Citing instances of money seizures in the two constituencies and various judicial observations, that release had said that polls would be held “after a reasonable amount of time”.
Although Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah had asked the EC to conduct elections soon, so that the elected candidates could vote in the Rajya Sabha elections on June 11, the EC refused to consider this argument, saying that this was “an extraneous consideration”, since candidates elected in elections that were not free and fair and could not be considered “true representatives of the electors of these constituencies”.
Monday’s release also announced that polling would also be held for the Nellithope constituency in Puducherry on November 19. The constituency will see Chief Minister V Narayanasamy contesting, after Congress leader A John Kumar resigned from the seat to make way for the CM.