Election Commission cancels 28 January Tiruvarur by-poll

New Delhi/Chennai: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has cancelled the 28 January Tiruvarur by-poll, necessitated by the demise of DMK leader M Karunanidhi, after political parties expressed reservation in holding the exercise in view of the ongoing relief measures following Cyclone Gaja.

An EC order said the notification issued for the by-poll had been cancelled. The order signed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora and fellow Commissioner Ashok Lavasa said a fresh date will be announced in due course of time.

“Bye-election for Tiruvarur rescinded as per orders of the ECI,” Tamilnadu Chief Electoral Officer N Satyabrata Sahoo said in a brief statement in Chennai. The ECI, in a communique to the state CEO, said the poll panel’s notification dated 3 January, scheduling by-poll to Tiruvarur on January 28, “shall stand rescinded forthwith.”

The Tiruvarur constituency fell vacant after the MLA representing the seat, DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, passed away on 7 August 2018.

Tiruvarur is one of the worst-hit districts in the Cauvery delta region of Tamilnadu due to severe cyclonic storm Gaja in November, 2018. Tiruvarur District Collector L Nirmal Raj, who is also the District Election Officer, had on 5 January held a meeting with the representatives of the political parties after the CEO asked him for his view on holding the by-poll.

Communist Party of India (CPI) Rajya Sabha member D Raja had submitted a representation to the CEO, seeking postponement of the by-poll. At the meeting with the collector, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) mooted for the by-poll’s postponement, while the DMK, though it had announced Poondi Kalaivanan’s candidature from the seat, said the by-poll should be held after the completion of the cyclone relief work.

DMK chief M K Stalin had said “people know the motive” behind announcing by-poll to only Tiruvarur though 19 other seats were vacant as well, adding that his party was “not afraid” of the by-poll.

Besides the DMK, the TTV Dhinakaran-led Amma Makal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) had also announced its candidate and the ruling AIADMK was previously expected to declare its nominee Monday.

As many as 18 seats fell vacant after AIADMK legislators were disqualified for siding with Dhinakaran and the Tiruparankundram seat fell vacant after the ruling party’s AK Bose passed away last year.