Chennai: DMK chief M K Stalin Sunday flayed the Election Commission for not announcing by-elections to two Tamilnadu assembly constituencies citing monsoon as the reason and said it was not a ‘justifiable’ decision.
Expressing ‘surprise’ at the EC’s decision, he said by-elections had been held in the state in the past during the North East Monsoon season, between October-December. The bypoll for RK Nagar constituency, held to fill the vacancy caused by the death of late chief minister Jayalalithaa, was conducted only during the monsoon season in December last year, he pointed out.
The Election Commission while announcing poll schedule for five states and by-elections in Karnataka Saturday had said Tamilnadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan had written a letter asking the commission not to announce the poll dates as there was forecast of cyclones and rains in the state.
“The EC putting off bypolls citing a letter by the state Chief Secretary and the monsoon does not appear to be an unbiased and justifiable decision,” Stalin said in a statement. Bypolls are due in Thiruvarur and Thirupparankundram assembly constituencies which fell vacant following the demise of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi on 7 August and AIADMK MLA AK Bose on 2 August, respectively.
Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat had said the EC would announce the bypoll after ascertaining the situation. Stalin said bypolls for three assembly constituencies in the state when Jayalalithaa was hospitalised in 2016 were also held during monsoon season in November.
Claiming that the ruling AIADMK was afraid of facing elections, he accused it of avoiding the bypolls through the Chief Secretary. Senior AIADMK leader and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai sought to dismiss the opposition party’s charge and said the EC was an independent and powerful body which none can influence.
Defending the Chief Secretary’s communication, Revenue Minister R B Udhayakumar said in Madurai that the government has the responsibility to apprise the commission of the prevailing situation in the state.