Good for democracy

Proving wrong charges made by the Opposition that the Election Commission was helping the AIADMK government in Tamilnadu by delaying by-polls in four out of the 22 vacant constituencies in the State, the EC announced Tuesday evening that the by-elections for Aravakurichi, Ottapidaram (SC), Sulur and Tirupparankundram would be held 19 May. The results would be declared 23 May, when the outcome of the by-elections to 18 Assembly constituencies and the Lok Sabha polls would also be known.

According to the schedule released by the EC, the gazette notification for the by-polls would be issued 22 April and the last date for filing of nominations would be 29 April. The nominations would be scrutinised 30 April and the last date for withdrawal of nominations would be 2 May. Since the election process is already on till 23 May, there will be no change in the duration of the Model Code of Conduct. Now that 22 seats are going for by-poll, the ruling AIADMK has to win at least four seats.

On the other hand, DMK has to win 21 constituencies if it wants to form the government. In case neither party gets the required numbers, fresh elections will have to be held for the State Assembly.The by-polls are being viewed as a mini-Assembly election, as the results would have a direct bearing on the continuance or otherwise of the Edappadi Palaniswami government. Hence, the contest is going to be serious. Earlier, the DMK had moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the poll panel for holding the by-elections to Tiruparankundram, Ottapidaram and Aravakurichi. The EC has announced by-polls in these places now and it is good for democracy.

NT Bureau