The Election Commission may have cancelled the by-election to the Tamil Nadu Assembly from Tiruvavur. But in cherry-picking Tiruvavur, a DMK stronghold, when 20 other seats are vacant in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, the EC has laid it is open to the charge that it is pliable.
It says that it had to fill the Tiruvavur seat within six months as its sitting member M Karunanidhi died on Aug 7 last year. Even so, it had time till Feb 6, 2019. The EC has made no mention of the Tiruparankundram seat which also fell vacant upon the death of sitting AIADMK member A K Bose on Aug.2, last year. It has apparently taken note of a petition by filed by losing DMK candidate Saravanan on Aug 21, 2018 in the Madras High Court to declare him as the winner.
Nor has it made any mention about the 18 seats which have been lying vacant for more than a year since the disqualification of pro-Dinakaran legislators by Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal. Though EC has not explained why, its defenders say it has preferred to wait as the affected MLAs have time till the end of this month to go in appeal to the Supreme Court against the Madras High Court order upholding the Speaker’s decision.
The disqualified MLAs have already said they have decided not to go to the Supreme Court, but instead take the issue to the people. In other words, they expect the EC to hold the by-elections to these seats. But EC expects them to take the first move.
As regards Tiruparankundram, the AIADMK won from here in the Assembly elections in May 2016. Upon the death of the member in November 2016, when AIADMK general secretary and Chief Minister J Jayalalitha was battling for life, the party nominated AK Bose. It also fielded its candidates for Thanjavur and Aravakurichi. All three won.
The losing DMK candidate in Tiruparakundram Saravanan filed an Election petition in the Madras High Court saying the nomination was not properly filed as it bore only the thumb impression of Jayalalitha. Apollo doctors deposed that she was conscious when she made the nomination and that she affixed her thumb impressions on the three nomination papers as she had a swollen hand because of intra-venous injection.
Even as the election case was pending, Bose passed away on Aug 2, 2017, that is barely five days before the death of Karunandhi. Thereafter, Saravanan filed a fresh petition in the high court on Aug 21, 2018 that he be declared winner.
Dr. Saravanan, a Madurai-based oncologist, contended that an election petition need not be dismissed just because the returned candidate is dead..
“The demise of the returned candidate may not take away the impurity and flagrant breaches of law committed by the election officials (by accepting thumb impressions of former Chief Minister Jayalalitha in the nomination papers) and the question of law is required to be considered by this honourable election tribunal”, he contended
He said he would have easily won if the returning officer had rejected the nomination of Bose as Jayalalitha's thumb impression had been obtained by fraud.