DMK chief MK Stalin on Sunday hit out at the Election Commission for not announcing by-elections to two Tamil Nadu assembly constituencies citing monsoon as the reason and said it was not a ‘justifiable’ decision.
Expressing ‘surprise’ at the Election Commission’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 by-poll 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 the poll schedule for five states and by-elections in Karnataka on Saturday had said Tamil Nadu 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 a unbiased and justifiable decision,” Mr Stalin said in a statement.
By-polls are due in Thiruvarur and Thirupparankundram assembly constituencies which fell vacant after the death of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi on August 7 and AIADMK lawmaker AK Bose on August 2 respectively.
Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat had said the Election Commission would announce the by-poll after ascertaining the situation.
Mr Stalin said by-polls for three assembly constituencies in the state when J 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 by-polls 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 Election Commission was an independent and powerful body which none can influence.
Defending the Chief Secretary’s communication, Revenue Minister RB Udhayakumar said in Madurai that the government has the responsibility to apprise the commission of the prevailing situation in the state.