The DMK has asked the Election Commission to hold by-elections to fill vacant 20 seats in the Tamil Nadu Assembly along with Lok Sabha polls to save time and money.
In a letter to the commission, DMK president M K Stalin has said “logic demands that the two elections should be held together”.
At the moment, 21 seats are vacant in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, 18 following disqualification of pro-Dinakaran members by the Speaker and one following conviction of an AIADMK MLA from Hosur in a criminal case. Besides, two seats are lying vacant following the death of DMK patriarch and former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and AIADMK member A K Bose.
In the last two years since of passing of former Minister J Jayalalitha in December 2016, only one by-election has been held, that was to fill her Radha Krishna Nagar constituency which Dinakaran has won. That was held in December 2017, exactly a year after the death of Jayalalitha.
The elections to fill the 18 seats held by pro-Dinakaran rebel AIADMK members have been held up, citing pendency of the case before the Madras High Court. Though the court has upheld their disqualification, the EC has been dragging its feet, arguing that they have time to appeal to the Supreme Court. Even the appeal period has lapsed.
While these 18 seats have been vacant since September 2017, the Tiruvarur and Tiruparankundram seats held by Karunanidhi and Bose have been vacant for over a year now.
In his letter to the EC, presented by a DMK team led by Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi, Stalin has said as these 21 seats form part of the 39 Lok Sabha constituencies from Tamil Nadu, simultaneous polls will save the Government cost and time while the political parties will not have to campaign twice. Also, it will be easy for the poll panel to enforce model code of conduct, he has said.
The ruling AIADMK, while remaining silent on these by-elections, has urged the commission to include Tamil Nadu in States figuring in the first phase of Lok Sabha polls.