Considering the ongoing pandemic situation and floods ECI has deferred by-elections to eight constituencies up to September 7 this year.
The elections will be held as soon as the situation becomes conducive, a notification said mentioning the two assembly seats in TN along with eight other constituencies in other states.
As per the provisions of RPA Act, vacancies must be filled through byelection within six months from the date the seat becomes empty. But the situation is uncertain and the elections after September 7 will again be a matter of discussion, ECI sources told DT Next.
The ECI is keen on conducting the Bihar general elections due for November and Tamil Nadu will be witnessing the Assembly elections as per schedule by next May, sources said.
According to Tamil Nadu public election department sources, there is every possibility for the state and ECI to delay the bypolls for three assembly seats including the Chepauk Triplicane seat, which recently became vacant after the demise of DMK legislator J Anbhazhagan due to COVID.
Tamil Nadu now has just eight months to go for the implementation of model code of conduct under such circumstances bypolls are usually deferred. This is the fourth time in the recent history of Tamil Nadu politics, where the polls are rescinded or deferred in the past four years. Vellore parliamentary seat and assembly seats of RK Nagar, Thanjavur and Aravakuruichi were rescheduled following complaints of distribution of cash for voters.
“No party is now ready for by-polls as it will easily cost up to Rs 10 crores of expense for an assembly seat. AIADMK which performed badly in the recent Lok Sabha polls was initially ready for Tiruvottiyur and Gudiyattam assembly seats, but now we can concentrate on the general assembly elections,” an AIADMK MLA said.
Deferment brings relief to DMK men
DMK leaders must be a relieved lot. In deciding to defer the Assembly by polls in the state owing to Corona virus spread, the ECI has helped them heave a sigh of relief.
The third largest party in the Parliament has reasons to celebrate the decision of ECI. Barring the mini-assembly polls, as it was called for the sheer number of Assembly seats that went for bypolls along with the 2019 Parliamentary polls, bypolls results have been largely gone in favour of the ruling party in the state.
The DMK, which had won 13 of the 22 Assembly seats in May 2019, understandably, be aware that ruling party victory in by polls was unwritten rule in the state politics. Also, utilising the money and muscle for an insignificant bypoll does nearly a year ahead of the career deciding Assembly poll would not serve any electoral purpose for the party now.
Concurring the view, a DMK insider close to the decision makers in the party, said, “It was similar to the bypolls held before the 2019 Parliamentary election. Other than draining the coffers and tiring the cadre, it did not serve any purpose. On the flip side, defeat in R K Nagar shook our cadre confidence then.”
A state-level functionary, who did not wish to be named, says; “Our leadership went full throttle in May 2019 because there was a possibility of dislodging the AIADMK. Even when we did not win enough to form government, we secured majority of their seats because all 22 seats were held by the ruling party prior to the by poll. It shattered the AIADMK’s confidence because the government escaped narrowly. We are not scared to face the election. We like the decision because the by election does not change the political equation or government even a bit. Should we lose even one of the three seats, the AIADMK could trumpet it as a sign of public confidence in the govt,” reasoned a district secretary who did not wish to be named.
“If at all someone should be worried, it should be the ruling party which is unpopular because of the pandemic crisis. For us, it is only conserving resources for next year,” the functionary added.
Bypolls to 2 TN seats deferred over pandemic
The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday deferred the by-elections to Thiruvottiyur and Gudiyattam Assembly constituencies due to the COVID-19 crisis.
In a notification, the ECI clarified that the by-polls will not be conducted tillSeptember 7 as the situation is not conducive for holding by-elections.
Considering the ongoing pandemic situation and floods, ECI has deferred by-elections to eight constituencies up to September 7 this year. The elections will be held as soon as the situation becomes conducive, a notification stated naming the two Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu along with eight other constituencies across India.