2019 polls: Countdown starts for counting; EC officials hold meeting

Senior Deputy Election Commissioners Sandeep Saxena and Umesh Sinha, Tamilnadu CEO, Satyabrata Sahoo and ECI Director Nikhil Kumar during the meeting.

Chennai: Leaders and candidates of various political parties were involved in full-fledged campaigning today as the canvassing for the by-election in four Assembly constituencies, scheduled for 19 May, would come to an end Friday.

Meanwhile, officials, leaders and cadres are getting ready for the big day- 23 May- when the votes polled in Lok Sabha elections will be counted.

The by-poll for Sulur, Aravakurichi, Thiruparankundram and Ottapidaram will be held along with the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami was camped at Sulur today while DMK president M K Stalin was seeking votes at Ottapidaram.

The polls for these Assembly constituencies were announced by the Election Commission of India 9 April. Soon after that, leaders of various political parties began their campaigning.

Election officers who took part in the vote counting training held in the city today.

In Thiruparankundram and Sulur, by-polls are necessitated by the death of two AIADMK MLAs while Aravakurichi and Ottapidaram became vacant after disqualification of two other AIADMK legislators.

Nominations for the constituencies began 22 April and the last date for withdrawal of nomination was 2 May. Earlier, by-election was announced only for the 18 out of 22 vacant Assembly constituencies when the Lok Sabha election schedule was declared 10 March. The ECI said elections cannot be held in these four constituencies as there were cases pending.

Meanwhile, a training programme regarding steps to be taken during counting of votes in Tamilnadu, Kerala, Gujarat, Puducherry and Lakshadeep Islands was held in the city today. Chief Electoral Officers, Deputy Electoral Officers and Returning Officers from the three states and two Union Territories took part in the programme. The meeting was chaired by Senior Deputy Election Commissioners Sandeep Saxena and Umesh Sinha. Following the meeting, the officials were set to visit the model-counting centre, set up at Anna University.

NT Bureau