The recounting of votes for the Radhapuram Assembly seat concluded on Friday evening after nearly seven hours at the Madras High Court premises. The court-ordered recount took place after the DMK candidate Appavu disputed the results of the polls held three years ago. However, the AIADMK MLA Inbadurai, who won by a wafer-thin margin, obtained a stay order from the Supreme Court, barring the declaration of the results.
According to the stay order, issued by apex court Justices Arun Mishra and S Ravindra Bhat, the counting process was allowed to take place. “However, results will not be declared,” said the order.
Incumbent MLA Inbadurai approached the Supreme Court reportedly arguing that the government school headmaster who had signed off on the postal votes was not of gazetted officer rank. Thus, the stay appears to be on the count of resolving that issue before the results are declared. The matter has been posted by the Supreme Court for October 23.
On Friday, the postal ballots as well as the last three rounds of polling— Round 19, 20 and 21— were counted amid high security in the presence of Madras High Court Registrar (Vigilance) Sai Saravanan.
The constituency in Tirunelveli district recorded the thinnest victory margin in the 2016 Assembly elections which saw the AIADMK under late supremo J Jayalalithaa form the government. AIADMK’s Inbadurai won the Radhapuram seat securing 69,590 votes while Appavu got 69,541 votes. In his petition, Appavu stated that the postal votes are to be counted first and claimed that when postal votes for Radhapuram were counted, a few objections were raised by both DMK and AIADMK and hence postal votes were not counted.
He also alleged that while counting the votes registered on the EVMs, the poll results of other constituencies in the state started trickling in, indicating an AIADMK win, and hence the poll officials started acting in a manner that supported AIADMK.