HEADLINES:
November 14 2019
T.N. to witness bypoll in 18 Assembly seats
11 March 2019

At a press conference, Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said the by-elections will not be held for Ottapidaram, Aravakurichi and Tiruparankundram Assembly constituencies.

Voters in Tamil Nadu’s 18 Assembly constituencies, where byelection will be held in April, would decide the fate of the Edappadi K Palaniswami-led AIADMK government, which is ruling with a wafer thin majority in the House whose strength has been reduced from 234 to 213.

The AIADMK has 114 MLAs, excluding the Speaker, and has to win at least in about 10 seats to remain comfortably in power till the end of its term in 2021.

Confusion over date

There was some confusion over the announcement of bypoll date on Sunday. At separate press conferences in Chennai and New Delhi, T.N. Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo and Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said the bypoll would take place on April 18, along with the Lok Sabha poll in the second phase. However, the document uploaded on the EC website mentioned the date as April 23, but said the polling will be held in the second phase. Officials hinted that the date in the document might be corrected soon.

Though 21 Assembly seats are vacant, bypoll would not be held in Tirupparankundram, Aravakurichi and Ottapidaram (SC) as election petitions are pending in court. Post-bypoll, the strength of the House would go up to 231, which means the AIADMK would technically have to win just two more seats to cross the half-way mark of 116. However, with the AIADMK MLAs in Aranthangi, Virudhachalam and Kallakurichi joining the T.T.V. Dhinakaran camp, and two others elected on the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol — Thamimun Ansari and Karunaas — turning against the government, the ruling party has to win as many seats as possible.

Also, the byelection to the remaining three seats would be held eventually when the court settles the issue or if the petitioners withdraw their case. Considering that 17 of the 18 constituencies (except Thiruvarur) where bypoll would be held were won by the AIADMK in May 2016, it will also be a test of popularity for the ruling party.

Both the AIADMK and DMK have obtained a commitment from their respective allies that they would extend support to them in the byelection.

While 18 of the 21 constituencies had fallen vacant following the disqualification of dissident AIADMK MLAs; Thiruvarur and Tirupparankundram fell vacant after the death of M. Karunanidhi (DMK) and A K Bose (AIADMK). In Hosur, a vacancy was created due to the disqualification of former Minister Balakrishna Reddy following his conviction in a rioting case. The byelection will be held in Poonamallee, Perambur, Thiruporur, Sholingur, Gudiyatham (SC), Ambur, Hosur, Pappireddipatti, Harur (SC), Nilakottai (SC), Thiruvarur, Thanjavur, Manamadurai (SC), Andipatti, Periyakulam (SC), Sattur, Paramakudi (SC) and Vilathikulam.

To a query, Mr Sahoo said the Election Commission (as reported in The Hinduon October 27, 2018) had clarified that the disqualified AIADMK MLAs can enter the fray for the Assembly by-elections.

 

 

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