Election Commission postpones polls in Tamil Nadu’s Aravakurichi Assembly constituency

Election Commission decided to conduct the polls on 23 May instead of 16 May. The counting in the constituency will be held on 25 May

Noting that the electoral process in Aravakurichi Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu has been ‘seriously vitiated’ due to unlawful activities of candidates and political parties by “bribing” voters, the Election Commission decided to conduct the polls on 23 May instead of 16 May. The counting in the constituency will be held on May 25.

Using its power under Article 324 of the Constitution, the Election Commission, in an order said that election in the constituency will now be held on 23 May instead of 16 May.

Tamil Nadu, along with Kerala and Puducherry is going for a single phase assembly election on 16 May.

The order signed by Chief Election Commissioner Naseem Zaidi and fellow Commissioners A K Joti and O P Rawat said FIRs have been lodged and Income Tax raids carried out at the residences and other premises of various political leaders show that unaccounted money and gift items have been distributed to voters to vitiate the electoral process.

“…the irresistible conclusion is that all the above seized monies and gift items were meant for distribution to electors as illegal inducement to them. The Commission is satisfied that the current electoral process in Aravakurichi assembly constituency has been seriously vitiated on account of unlawful activities of the candidates and political parties and their workers in bribing the electors,” the EC said in its order.

Earlier this week, during a raid conducted in the constituency, the Income Tax authorities recovered Rs 2 crore cash from the residence and other premises of Aravakurichi DMK candidate KC Palanichamy and his son KCP Shivaraman at Karur.

Earlier, the Election Commission on issued show cause notices to AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and DMK President M Karunanidhi for violating model code, saying their election manifestos do not “substantially” fulfil its guidelines.

The two notices, which has virtually similar wordings say that prima facie the manifestos of the two parties “have not substantially fulfilled the guidelines of the Commission”.

The poll panel gave them time till 5 PM on May 15 to respond “to explain your stand for non-compliance of the guidelines of the Commission and also reflect the rationale for the promises made in your manifesto and broadly indicate the ways and means to meet the financial requirement for the same.”