Elections to two Tamil Nadu Assembly constituencies cancelled by the Election Commission in May following evidence of money being used to influence voters, will now be held on November 19. The Commission on Monday announced the schedule to hold the Assembly polls to the Aravakurichi and Thanjavur seats, saying the notification will be issued on October 26 and the elections will be held on November 19. The counting would take place on November 22.
The polls come at a time when AIADMK supremo and state chief minister J Jayalalithaa is admitted to a hospital and may not be available for campaigning. In a first in India’s electoral history, the poll panel had on May 28 decided to rescind the notification and conduct polls afresh “in due course of time” to the Assembly seats following evidence of money being used to influence voters.
Earlier, the EC had on two occasions postponed polls to the Aravakurichi and Thanjavur seats following reports of large-scale distribution of money and gifts to voters by candidates and political parties.
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Initially, the polls were postponed from May 16 to May 23. On 21 May, the Commission decided to once again postpone the polls to June 13. The elections were indefinitely put off on May 28. Tamil Nadu went to Assembly polls on May 16, in which the AIADMK returned to power for a second consecutive term.
The EC had then said it took the decision after considering reports of observers, special teams of central observers, report of the special team of observers of Aravakurichi and Thanjavur constituencies and representations of contesting candidates.
The Commission usually takes such a harsh step when there are evidences that muscle power has been used to influence voters. But cancelling polls following the use of money to induce voters was unprecedented.