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AIADMK’s win in polls an ‘artificial victory’: DMK President M Karunanidhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK President M Karunanidhi on Wednesday said the ruling AIADMK’s win in all three Tamil Nadu Assembly seats where polls were held on November 19 was not surprising as the party had “misused” authority and money power to engineer an “artificial victory”.”There is no surpise or anything new in the ruling AIADMK’s win in the three constituencies in Tamil Nadu. DMK’s hard work could not stand before misuse of authority and money power,” he said. Karunanidhi alleged that “money power has once again won” in Tamil Nadu. “Therefore this is an artificial victory,” he said in a statement.He also congratulated his “dear friend”, Puduchery Chief Minister V Narayansamy for leading the ruling Congress there to a “massive win” in the Nellithope bypoll.Continuing its electoral dominance over arch rival DMK amidst hospitalisation of its supremo and Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, AIADMK had on Tuesday romped home in Thanjavur and Aravakurichi polls as well as the Thiruparankundram bypoll.AIADMK had wrested the Aravakkurichi seat from DMK and retained Thanjavur and Thiruparankundram by margins ranging from more than 20,000 to 42,000 votes, dealing a blow to its Dravidian rival.

Tamil Nadu, Puducherry by-polls: Counting begins in assemby constituencies

Chennai: Amid tight security, counting of votes for three assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu and a lone seat in neighbouring Puduchery that went to polls on 19 November began on Tuesday at designated counting centres.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Postal votes are being taken up first for counting wherever available and it will be soon be followed by counting of EVM votes. While trends are expected to be in place in about an hour, the results will be out later in the day.

In Aravakurichi, the counting of votes is being held at M Kumarasamy College of Engineering, Karur.

In Thanjavur, the counting is on at Kundavai Nachiaar Government Arts College for Women.

For Thirupparankundram Assembly segment, the counting of votes is on at Madurai Medical College premises.

Rangasamy (AIADMK) and DMK’s Anjugam Bhoopathy are the main contenders in Thanjavur. AIADMK’s AK Bose is pitted against DMK’s Saravanan in Thirupparankundram while in Aravakkurichi, Senthil Balaji (AIADMK) and KC Palanisamy (DMK) are the main candidates.

Polls have been held to the three constituencies at a time when AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is recuperating in a hospital in Chennai, and her trusted lieutenant and Finance Minister O Panneerselvam led the campaign for the ruling party.

While Aravakkurichi Assembly segment will have 18 rounds of counting, Thanjavur and Thirupparankundram are set to witness 20 and 21 rounds of counting respectively.

In the Union Territory of Puducherry, votes are being counted at Bharatidasan Government College for Women where Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, a non-member of the House, is taking on AIADMK candidate Om Sakthi Segar in Nellithope constituency.

In Puducherry, the counting is set to be over in three rounds.

Each counting table has one Micro Observer, usually a Central government official apart from other staffers involved in counting.

EC had said that to ensure transparency in the counting process, copy of result of each table would be given to every counting agent by the Counting Supervisor.

In Tamil Nadu, votes are being counted across 14 tables for a given constituency spread in one hall and the entire counting process is being videographed.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 10:03 IST

Demonetisation: Centre’s refusal to empower EC to clamp down on notebank politics raises eyebrows

Corruption generates black money. Black money in turn funds elections. The elected makes good on the expense by being corrupt, thereby corrupting others in the process. There’s no disputing this infallible vicious cycle, that has now become part of the folklore in our country.

As former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), SY Quraishi, had said, “Money power in elections is one of the biggest sources of corruption in the country and although there is a legal limit to expenditure, we know anecdotally that much above the limit is often spent.”

His views are reflected by most other CECs as well. But despite recognising the problem, as Quraishi said, the politicians and candidates continue to fudge the accounts, hence sustaining the scourge.

So when the Narendra Modi government declared a war on black money with their demonetisation drive, why was the Election Commission (EC) not empowered to clamp down on corruption and black money employed during elections? Does it not fall into the ambit of the stated purpose? Why was demonetisation limited to destroying the chests of counterfeit currency that fund terror, when it could’ve also been used as an opportunity to cleanse the system?

The Election Commission was not empowered by the Centre to clamp down on corruption and black money as part of the demonetisation wave. PTIThe Election Commission was not empowered by the Centre to clamp down on corruption and black money as part of the demonetisation wave. PTI

The Election Commission was not empowered by the Centre to clamp down on corruption and black money as part of the demonetisation wave. PTI

As reported by The The Indian Express, the Law Ministry shot down a proposal from the EC on Monday that permanently empowered it to cancel elections in case there was credible evidence of voters being bribed.

The refusal, though reported post-demonetisation, had been conveyed well before the step was taken – the letter to the EC was dated 28 September. But it is not the chronology but the intent that is relevant here.

It’s not as if the EC cannot cancel elections presently. It had cancelled elections in two Tamil Nadu Assembly constituencies, Aravakurichi and Thanjavur, in May this year following a seizure of large sums of money. But the move was unprecedented, and was postponed twice before the notification for those constituencies was eventually rescinded.

The EC does not possess permanent legal power to cancel such elections as the government has to approve its proposals. That it refused to grant the EC its requirement raised eyebrows, especially if you see it in the context of the current demonetisation wave. If the EC was empowered, in tandem with the demonetisation, then the scare among the corrupt would have been wider and much deeper.

The Deccan Chronicle reported that, “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 use of money to induce voters is so far unheard of.” The Law Ministry has now told the EC that, “It may not be advisable to compare booth capturing with allegations of bribery of voters since the circumstances are incomparable.”

The perspectives of the Law Ministry and the EC clearly differ. The former has said that it would “be desirable to maintain status quo”, for “allegations of bribery are a matter of investigation and proof”, and that it cannot be compared with booth capturing – that currently warrants the cancellation of polls. But, as asked by an unnamed EC source quoted in The Indian Express report, “Is booth capturing not a matter of investigation and proof?”

It’s possible that this is not the last we hear on the matter as the EC, regardless of who heads it and who its members are, has a tendency to quietly push on issues it considers important to cleanse the system. Though it is also true that bribery is and has been an inherent problem of the elections, as money is used to overcome the ideological resistance of voters or to persuade those not inclined to vote.

During its crackdown on bribe money in Tamil Nadu this year, the EC had seized Rs 7.12 crore in cash, 429 litres of liquor, 33.256 kg of silver from Aravakurichi and Rs 75.20 lakh in cash, 2,145 litres of liquor from Tanjavur, apart from one lakh saris and dhotis. That apart, Rs 200 crore was seized in the state overall by the EC making it, as had been reported then, the largest haul of money purported for influencing an Assembly poll.

These numbers would make anyone gasp, but then again, we as a country are used to taking it all in our stride for use of money to influence elections is routine. Ask any voter, and any politician who is willing to admit it, and they will reveal the same.

The difficulty is that despite the near universal use of money as a major influencer in elections, the EC has not been able to do much about it on the scale it ought to have. In lieu of the current demonetisation wave, the Centre’s reluctance, nay refusal, to empower the EC to clamp down on black money in politics does raise eyebrows.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 16:10 IST

Madras HC refuses to postpone 19 November polls for two Tamil Nadu seats

The Madras High Court has directed Election Commission to file an affidavit of expenses incurred for conduct of assembly elections to Aravakurichi and Thanjavur constituencies, which were cancelled in May following evidence by the poll panel of money used to bribe voters. The court passed the interim orders on petitions by PMK candidates M Baskaran, who contested from Aravakurichi and G Kunjithapatham, who contested from Thanjavur, seeking to recover all expenses from AIADMK and DMK candidates, who allegedly distributed money and gifts to the voters.

Madras-High-Court_Wiki-commons_Yoga-Balaji_380

Madras High Court. Wikimedia Commons

The EC had initially deferred the elections in the two constituencies in May when the state went for polls. The polls were bound to take place in June but were cancelled again. The polls will now be held on 19 November.

When the matter came up to the bench, the court directed EC to file an affidavit within four weeks, setting forth the expenses incurred for conduct of the election under different heads. The petitioners submitted that the amount expended in the election process should be recovered from the ‘delinquent candidates’. They also suggested the court that the EC may file an affidavit on the money spent towards these two constituencies so that the amount is quantified. Later on, it may be debated if the amount can be recovered from the candidates or not.

Additional Solicitor General submitted that cash seized from the constituencies was deposited in the permanent deposit account and that they were awaiting some information from the tax department, which may take up about three months. The court took note of the suggestions of the petitioners, directed the EC to submit the result of enquiry in a sealed cover before it and posted the matter for further hearing on 6 March, 2017. 

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 15:53 IST

Madras HC rejects PIL against Jayalalithaa’s thumb impression on AIADMK poll papers

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Monday dismissed a PIL challenging affixing of thumb impression of ailing Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on nomination papers of AIADMK candidates for the 19 November bypolls, saying it is for Election Commission to verify authenticity of the papers.

Madras High Court. IBNlive

Madras High Court. IBNlive

“In our view, it is for the ECI to verify the authenticity of the papers so far as the assignment of scrutiny is concerned and if there are any infirmities in the election process which makes the election capable of being challenged that is a matter of election petition,” the court ruled.

Noting that the election symbols had already been alloted, the court said it was not inclined to interfere in the matter and dismissed the PIL, filed by social activist Traffic K Ramaswamy.

AIADMK candidates in Aravakurichi, Thanjavur and Thirupparankundram assembly segments had filed Forms A and B, required under the symbols order rules, with the left thumb impression of Jayalalithaa, hospitalised since 22 September last, instead of her signature.

Her thumb impression was attested by a government doctor with a note saying Jayalalithaa had an ‘inflamed right hand’. The petitioner had contended that taking the thumb impression instead of signature was a gross violation of election procedure and sought to declare it as illegal and ultra vires of the Constitution.

When the matter came up for hearing on Monday, the Additional Solicitor General, who appeared on behalf of the EC, produced a 27 October communication addressed to the Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer, specifying the process for attestation of the thumb impression.

In response to a representation by the AIADMK for allowing thumb impression of Jayalalithaa in the forms, the EC had specified medical officer of any government hospital as the officer before whom the thumb impression may be affixed and who may attest such thumb impression.

The ASG further submitted that such an attestation had been done and the nomination papers filed. Recording the submission, the court said the petitioner was not a contesting candidate in the election but seeks to obligate himself such kind of general public scrutiny merely because in various PILs he had been entertained.

Social activist moves Madras HC on Jaya affixing her thumb impression in poll papers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Social activist Traffic K Ramaswamy on Thursday filed a petition in the Madras High Court, seeking to declare as “illegal and ultra vires of the Constitution” Chief Minister Jayalalithaa affixing her left thumb impression on poll papers.He claimed that affixing the thumb impression was a violation of the election code. The petition is, however, yet to be taken up by the court. AIADMK candidates in Aravakurichi, Thanjavur and Thirupparankundram assembly segments had filed Forms A and B, featuring the left thumb impression of hospitalised party general secretary Jayalalithaa, instead of her signature. All three constituencies go to the polls on November 19.AIADMK had sought permission from Election Commission, allowing Jayalalithaa to put her thumb impression in view of her health and the poll body had given its nod. Her thumb impression was attested by Professor of Minimal Access Surgery, Madras Medical College, Dr P Balaji and Dr Babu K Abraham of Apollo Hospitals who had signed the papers as a witness.Jayalalithaa was admitted to the Apollo Hospital on September 22 after she complained of fever and dehydration. Later the hospital said she was being treated for infection with respiratory support, among others.

Tamil Nadu to implement National Food Security Act from November 1

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three years after its enactment, Tamil Nadu government on Thursday decided to implement the National Food Security Act from November 1, but said will “retain and continue” the existing Universal Public Distribution System, wherein rice is being supplied to all rice cardholders “without any discrimination”.The move comes after the Centre conveyed to Tamil Nadu that monthly food grain allocation to Above Poverty Line (APL) beneficiaries would be at Minimum Support Price derived rate, as the “state has so far not implemented NFSA,” a Cooperation, Food and Consumer Protection Department order said. The order dated October 27 said the present MSP derived rate for rice was Rs 22.54 per kg even as the state had so far been getting 15.15 lakh tonnes annually from the Centre at Rs 8.30 per kg.While its monthly off take of rice under PDS, including Antyodaya Anna Yojana was about 3.23 lakh tonnes, the Centre’s monthly allotment to the state was 2.96 lakh tonnes, it said. The additional requirement was being met through central allocation of 27,969 tonnes per month at Below Poverty Line Rate of Rs 5.65 per kg by Centre up to June. But there has been no additional allocation since July, it said.The annual expenditure on this pattern is Rs 2393.30 crore for supply of 38.93 lakh tonnes of rice, it said, adding due to the Centre revising the rate in APL category, the state will have to incur an additional Rs 2730.95 crore annually over and above the aforesaid expenditure if NFSA was not implemented.”Taking the above circumstances carefully into consideration, the government of Tamil Nadu has decided to implement the National Food Safety Act, 2013 in Tamil Nadu from November 1, 2016,” it said.”With a view to protect the Universal PDS which the state has been adopting at present, in which rice is supplied to all rice cardholders without any discrimination, it has been decided to retain and continue the Universal PDS in Tamil Nadu while implementing NFSA,” it said.Accordingly, all rice cardholders will be eligible for 5 kg rice per person (including a child) per month under NFSA while ensuring that the quantity given under the new system is not less than the present entitlement under Universal PDS, it said, adding, “there shall be no upper ceiling of 20 kg per card per month.”For instance, if there was only one adult family member, entitlement will continue to be 12 kg per month,though monthly entitlement as per NFSA norms was only 5 kg (at subsidised rates), it said, adding, rice will be supplied free of cost to all rice card holders. Due to these steps, the state’s monthly rice offtake was expected to go up and the government “shall have to bear the additional cost” of about Rs 1193.30 crore per annum, it said.A government release said the decisions were taken at a recent cabinet meeting, keeping the public welfare in mind.”On the directions of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, NFSA has been ordered to be implemented in Tamil Nadu keeping in mind public welfare. Even if this results in additional expenditure, it will be implemented in a way benefiting all rice cardholders,” it said. The GO, meanwhile, said supply of foodgrains for priority and non-priority households under Universal PDS would be uniform.Further, the government has decided to constitute a State Food Commission to monitor and review implementation of the Act, it said, adding, orders for appointing its chairperson and members would be issued separately. The revised scale of supply would be implemented in the state from November, except poll-bound Aravakurichi, Thanjavur and Thirupparakundram Assembly seats.The G.O. recalled that rice has been provided free of cost under Universal PDS since June 2011 under the “directions of Chief Minister” Jayalalithaa, who had implemented a then poll-time promise in this regard. The present supply came with a monthly ceiling of 20 kg per card, and 35 kg for AAY families, it added. The NFSA, which aimed at providing food and nutritional security to targeted priority households, had determined a rural coverage of 62.55 per cent and urban coverage of 37.79 per cent in the state, it said.

BJP fields Kalikho Pul’s widow Dasanglu for Hayuliang by-election

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP on Thursday fielded Dasanglu Pul, widow of former Arunchal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul, from the state’s Hayuliang assembly seat where the by-election is necessitated following his death. Dasanglu is Pul’s third wife and will have the support of the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), which is in power in the state, and a BJP ally.The saffron party also announced names of its candidates for 12 other bye-elections to parliamentary and assembly seats to be held on November 19.Kalikho Pul, who split from Congress and became the Chief Minister with the BJP’s support, had to quit following a Supreme Court order and was later found dead under mysterious circumstances. It was suspected to be a suicide.Things again took a turn in the state after Congress leader and Chief Minister Pema Khandu walked out of his party with entire legislature party save one MLA and formed a regional outfit PPA. It joined hands with the BJP.Party sources said they will seek Dasanglu’s election to the assembly uncontested and appeal to the opposition to not field any candidate against her.Gyan Singh and Manju Dadu will be its candidates from Shahdol (ST) Lok Sabha seat and Nepanagar (ST) assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh. Shahdol is going to the polls following the death of incumbent MP Dalpat Singh Paraste, a BJP leader.S Prabhu, M S Ramalingam and R Srinivasan are its nominees from Aravakurichi, Thanjavur and Thiruparankundram assembly seats in Tamil Nadu while Hem Chandra Burman, Ambuj Mohanti and Biswajit Poddar are from Cooch Behar (SC) and Tamluk Lok Sabha seats and Monteswar assembly seat respectively in West Bengal.Sista Mohan Das and Tapan Kumar Pal are the party candidates from Barjala and Khowai assembly seats in Tripuara while Pradhan Baruah and Man Singh Rongpi have been fielded from Lakhimpur Lok Sabah seat and Baithalangso (ST) assembly seats in Assam.

BJP hits out at M Karunanidhi for rant against PM Modi

BJP state on Saturday hit out at DMK chief M Karunanidhi for questioning the timing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s congratulatory message to Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on May 19, saying he had greeted her only after trends indicated AIADMK’s victory in the assembly polls. “Modi greeted Jayalalithaa on her party’s poll victory only at 11.15 AM on Twitter on May 19 and not at 10 AM as claimed by Karunanidhi. By this time trends had already indicated that AIADMK would win,” BJP Tamil Nadu unit president Tamilisai Soundararajan said in a statement here. She pointed out that even before greeting Jayalalithaa, Modi had congratulated Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal Chief Minister) at 11.14 AM, Sonowal (Assam CM) at 11.23 AM and the Kerala winners at 11.26 AM. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Karunanidhi’s charge that the PM’s call had influenced the electoral outcome in Tamil Nadu, she said, “if election results can be influenced through greetings, why had Modi not done it in Delhi polls? How did Nitish win back power in Bihar?” Karunanidhi had at a public meeting yesterday got up to celebrate his 93rd birthday had asked Modi the ‘secret’ behind him greeting Jayalalithaa at 10.00 am on her victory and sought to know how he learnt by that time itself she was winning. “Did you complete counting of votes even before the process had started?,” he had asked sarcastically and alleged that Modi’s greetings influenced the electoral outcome in Tamil Nadu. The DMK patriarch had also termed the Election Commission a “dishonest” organisation and said a “fitting lesson” should be taught to the EC by “ensuring victory” for DMK candidates in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur Assembly constituencies.He had alleged that election was rescinded in these two constituencies to prevent DMK from winning the seats and added if Modi failed to give an explanation it would mean that he had accepted his charges. The BJP state president also hit out at Karunanidhi for saying there was no proper explanation for seizure of Rs 570 crore by the Election Commission, which SBI had claimed was its own. “He says Centre should respond to the seizure though authorities have clarified that it belongs to SBI … you have not given a true reply to the Rs 1.76 lakh Crore 2G scam,” she said. Soundararajan also hit out at Karunanidhi for his “sheep believes only the butcher” May 30 remark, a reference to people who voted AIADMK back to power. “If DMK wins, they are people and if they don’t, the people are sheep. If DMK wins the Election Commission officials are honest, if they lose, they are dishonest … you opened up a bundle of lies,” she said.

Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Chief Election Officer Rajesh Lakhoni speaks on voter turnout, cash seized and polls deferred

The elections in Tamil Nadu may have to come end but the state’s Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni still does not sound satisfied, finding room for improvements. He is currently preparing for polls in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur constituencies where polls have been deferred by another three weeks. Despite allegations and criticisms from various parties that the EC was functioning in favour of the ruling party, it was all Income Tax and Information Technology-driven, leaving no place for manipulation. The Chief Electoral Officer has set the bar high in the conduct of elections in Tamil Nadu with record number of seizures. Lakhoni says he has now developed a prototype for conducting these elections, which can be further developed. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an interview with dna, he touches upon all this and speaks about the controversy surrounding the Rs 570 crore cash seized in Tirupur on Friday, May 13, which the SBI claims was their money.With parties complaining about the deferment of elections at Aravakurichi and Thanjavur, which they think, will cause undue advantage for the winner— what’s your take?Elections were deferred after cash was found by the Enforcement Directorate, election officials and the decision to postpone them was taken by the Chief Election Commissioner after discussions. A probe was also ordered by the election officials to carry out investigations in the wake of the rampant money distribution. Elections are a process and cannot be just struck down by the stroke of a sign just because parties want them to. Elections were due and were conducted as per rules.How far do you think you curbed the money power in elections?In a positive note, the CEO says we searched each and every candidates’ homes and booked cadres for bribing voters. At least 250 of them were booked. I don’t think this has ever happened in any of the elections and seizing Rs 105 crore cash in this elections is the maximum. All these years there were seizures in which most of them were returned, however, this year it was only at Rs 47 crore. A candidate from Thiruchendur , Mr. Sarath Kumar’s car was stopped and cash was seized by the election officials. All our officials worked swiftly and were constantly on the field to monitor cash for votes and other illegalities.Don’t you think spending by parties and candidates needs to still be tightened by the EC? Do you think there is a need for electoral reforms?Ever since the schedule was put up, each of the processes that were involved for the candidates to obtain permissions for campaigning — the chairs, the posters and the other sums involved — were all digitised with the special software that can be checked with the click of a button. There is no place for manipulation as everything has gone online, is digital and can be audited whenever required by the election officials concerned. The parties can never blame the EC for anything. I don’t think electoral reforms can be decided by the CEO as I am just a facilitator and decision has to be taken at the top level. Even when ads were made, I insisted they not lay emphasis on the CM candidate.There were a lot of criticisms from parties that you were acting in favour of the ruling government? How did you tackle it?Parties complained and brought me complaints. However, the Election Commission officials were all in the field and were doing their best to stop candidates from bribing the voters. The Election officials were acting on complaints that were provided to them by the voters as well as the candidates. Whenever candidates complained, the EC always did its best. I guess this was the first time when the Election officials, revenue, Income Tax, Information technology and central government were in the field to act on complaints.You took various initiatives to improve the voter turnout. However, it was still less when compared to the previous years and Chennai’s turnout was poor. Where do you think the problem was?Each and every initiative was taken up, such as roping in actors, (putting up) posters and short films, screening them everywhere, however the percentage has dipped. But it could also probably be duplication, as it was found some voters tend to be always having votes on two places— in their native town and place of work, and also the rains. This is actually a place where the EC needs to learn and measures are being taken up to study on how the voting dipped. The dip can also be attributed to three days holidays when several urban voters went to their native place to record their votes. A study will be conducted and there is always place for improvement, which the EC will take.Why aren’t elections conducted in a multi-phase manner in the state? Do you think it can help control money power?Election if held in a multi-phase manner will only increase the burden. Logistically and strategically, for long Tamil Nadu has not been a place where elections can be held in multi-phase. In other places, such as Bihar and West Bengal, elections are held in different phases, which are due to administrative and security reasons, whereas in TN a single phase is perfect. While carrying out single phase, the EC was able to seize Rs 105 crore whereas when you go for multi-phase it can prove as an advantage for parties who can study the entire approach in the first phase and possibly implement in the next.What’s the status on the Rs 570 crore that was seized by the EC at Coimbatore? Why is it still not released?The EC found the money being transported from Coimbatore to Vijayawada and the officials detained it near Tiruppur. When the EC tried to stop it at a distance, the vehicles did not stop. The EC was not in a position to handle such an amount and the Income Tax officials were brought in. The IT department investigation is pending and is currently at the top level of the finance department since the money was being transferred as per the orders of the RBI, the bank officials claimed. However, the documents had some discrepancies that led the EC to detain the money.Was it the EC that sent notices to parties on the funding for freebies? Was it satisfied with the replies given by the parties?The questions were raised after a Supreme Court judgment in 2013 directed the Election Commission to frame guidelines with regard to the contents of election manifestos, in consultation with all the recognised political parties. The order was passed on July 5, 2013, SLP(C) No 21455 of 2008. The (parties’) replies were sent to the CEC in Delhi and its pending with them.

Tamil Nadu elections 2016 – Will launch agitation if polls not held on May 23: Karunanidhi

Miffed at the Election Commission deferring the polls to Aravakurichi and Thanjavur Assembly segments in Tamil Nadu, DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Friday alleged it was a “conspiracy” against his party and warned of launching an agitation if polling was not held as per schedule on May 23. Referring to BJP and PMK moving the court seeking postponement of polls, he asked how many seats the two had won in the other 232 seats, results for which were declared yesterday. The two parties had drawn a blank.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is a deliberate conspiracy being hatched against DMK. How many seats have BJP and PMK won? Should not the opinion of DMK, which is contesting there, be sought,” he told reporters here. He alleged that the EC’s decision to further defer the polls on the pleas of BJP and PMK “is a planned conspiracy. If elections are not held as per schedule (on May 23), I myself will launch an agitation saying that this was a deliberate move,” he said. Karunanidhi charged that EC was working at the behest of AIADMK in this matter. The Election Commission had earlier made a submission in the Madras High Court that it has decided to further postpone elections to Aravakurichi and Thanjavur assembly seats by three more weeks. EC had originally postponed the elections from the scheduled May 16 to May 23 following allegations of bribing of voters. Challenging the decision to hold it on May 23, BJP and PMK had moved the High Court, seeking further postponement of polling. Meanwhile, DMK petitioned the Election Commission to hold the polls as per the earlier postponed schedule of May 23. Organisation Secretary R S Bharathi said the DMK was “shocked” to know about the Election Commission’s decision to further defer the poll. “There are allegations made in the press by some political parties against DMK as a reason for postponing the elections. When such allegations are made against the DMK, it is just and fair to put us on notice before postponing the elections,” Bharathi said. He said the Election Commission should “recall this decision to uphold democracy”.

Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Disqualify candidates involved in money distribution row, demand BJP, CPI(M)

BJP and CPI(M) on Monday demanded that candidates facing money distribution allegations in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur constituencies, where elections have been postponed, should be disqualified.BJP Tamil Nadu president Tamilisai Soundararajan said, “I cannot agree that irregularities have happened only in these two (Aravakurichi, Thanjavur) constituencies when such an ambience was widely prevalent”. “Are not the candidates who distributed money going to fight polls again?” she told reporters here, adding “candidates in such constituencies should be disqualified”. Speaking to reporters after casting her vote, she said that fresh candidates should be nominated in such seats and polls may be held even after a month there. She urged the Election Commission to have a more robust and functional machinery to halt distribution of money.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CPI(M) State Secretary G Ramakrishnan said despite efforts of the Election Commission, “unprecedented money distribution has happened”. He said candidates in such constituencies where cash distribution has been reported should rather be disqualified. “Disqualify them and that will be correct and a good precedent,” he told reporters in reference to constituencies like Aravakurichi and Thanjavur.Election Commission postponed polls in Aravankurichi and Thanjavur constituencies after what it called “illegal activities of candidates and political parties” citing alleged distribution of money and other gifts in the form of consumable items and others. Polls will be held on May 23 in these constituencies and counting of votes will be done on May 25.

Tamil Nadu polls 2016: S Ramadoss urges Election Commission to postpone elections in all constituencies

Charging the DMK and the AIADMK with distributing money to voters in all the 234 assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu, PMK leader S Ramadoss on Sunday urged the Election Commission to disqualify the candidates of these parties and postpone tomorrow’s election. In a statement here, he said “the Election Commission has postponed the elections in Aravakurichi citing distribution of money to the voters. This means EC has openly admitted the distribution of money.” <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Claiming that action of the Election Commission in postponing the election in one constituency will not “bear any fruit”, he said PMK had been demanding action against distribution of money since the elections were announced.Alleging that money was distributed in all constituencies, he urged the Election Commission to disqualify candidates of DMK and AIADMK and postpone the polls.

Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Election Commission defers poll in Aravakurichi constituency to May 23

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 tonight decided to defer the polls there.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 May 23 instead of May 16.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu, along with Kerala and Puducherry is going for a single phase assembly election on May 16.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu elections 2016: EC issues show cause notices to Jayalalithaa, KarunanidhiThe EC said the counting of votes for the Aravakurichi constituency will take place on May 25.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.
ALSO READ Rs 570 core cash seized in Tamil Nadu, EC says investigations are on”…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.

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