Chennai, Mar 31 : Accusing the Election Commission of India (ECI) of discriminating Tamilnadu, the Opposition DMK on Sunday urged the ECI to announce bye-elections to four vacant Assembly seats within 48 hours, failing which it would initiate appropriate proceedings for breaching the undertaken given by it.
In a petition to Mr Sunil Arora, Chief Election Commissioner, DMK MP and Organisational Secretary R S Bharathi said the ECI was treating Gujarat, where bypolls were announced, and Tamil Nadu differently.
He said bye-elections were announced for three Assembly constituencies in Gujarat when two MLAs belonging to the Congress wanted to switch over to the BJP party, they resigned their MLA seats of Manavadar and Dharangadhra constituencies on March seven.
Another MLA from Jamnagar Rural Assembly constituency also resigned his seat on March 11, he pointed out.
'Interestingly, the Election Commission of India swung in to action with tearing hurry and immediately notified bye-elections on March 13 to be held along with 26 Parliamentary constituencies in Gujarat.
Subsequently, for Jamnagar Rural Assembly Constituency, immediately after the resignation of the sitting Congress MLA, the ECI wasted no time and announced the bye-elections immediately on March 14', he added.
'Therefore, one can see that the attitude and outlook of the ECI varies vastly from Gujarat to Tamil Nadu', Mr Bharathi said.
It appeared that the electors and citizens of Tamil Nadu were given a step motherly treatment by the ECI and were discriminated. 'When the ECI shows much concern to ensure that no Assembly seat is vacant in Gujarat and bye-elections are immediately announced, the ECI doesn’t seem to have the same concern for the people of Tamilnadu who have been without elected representatives in so far
as these constituencies are concerned for more than a year', he said.
Stating that the DMK was completely shell shocked over the manifest discrimination by the ECI in announcing bye-elections in Gujarat immediately after the seat fell vacant, while dragging its feet in
Tamil Nadu to announce bye-elections, he said the ECI in its undertaking before the Supreme Court said it would conduct bye-elections to three seats--Tiruparankundram, Aravakurichi, Ottapidaram constituencies within “reasonable time”.
Since the machinery and apparatus to conduct elections were already ready in Tamil Nadu, “reasonable time” could only be construed as time prescribed under the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 between the election notification and date of election which was 24 days.
There is nothing which prevents the ECI from announcing the bye-elections within 48 hours, he said and urged the ECI to announce bye-elections to the three seats along with Sulur Constituency (which fell vacant due to the death of sitting AIADMK MLA) within 48 hours, failing which the DMK would be constrained to initiate appropriate proceedings for breach of undertaking given by the ECI, Mr Bharathi said.