CHENNAI: The Election Commission, elaborating the reasons for rescinding the by-election to the Tiruvarur Assembly constituency, has revealed that Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan on December 3 last year urged the Commission not to hold by-elections till April to the 18 Assembly constituencies which have been lying vacant following the disqualification of the 18 AIADMK MLAs, citing the ongoing rehabilitation works in areas affected by cyclone Gaja.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, in their order, said that following the letter from the Chief Secretary, they sought clarifications from the Union Home Ministry.
The Home Ministry, in its letter dated December 31, agreed that the contention of the Tamil Nadu government on the damage caused by the cyclone and the relief works being done were true.But political parties have pointed out that the EC notified the by-election on December 31 without getting a feedback from the Tamil Nadu government.
Meanwhile, Ashok Lavasa, talking to television channels in New Delhi, said since the people and political parties were not ready for the by-election, the EC rescinded it. He also promised that all vacant seats would be filled within the stipulated 180 days’ period including the 18 disqualified MLAs seats whose stipulated period would be ending in April.
Congress leader Peter Alphonse and VCK general secretary D Ravikumar have also welcomed the cancellation of the by-election but accused the Election Commission of ‘arbitrary’ action in announcing the by-election a week ago and now rescinding it with a reason.
BJP state president Tamilisai Soundararajan, CPM state secretary K Balakrishnan, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi leader MH Jawahirullah and TMC president GK Vasan welcomed the EC announcement. However, DMDK founder Vijayakant said the EC had failed to consult the Tamil Nadu government before notifying the election.