For the first time in the electoral history of the country, the Election Commission of India has decided to rescind the poll notification for two Assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu — Aravakurichi and Thanjavur, where “large scale distribution of money and gifts to elector by the candidates and political parties” were reported.
“The Commission has decided to rescind the notification and conduct elections afresh in due course of time,” an official told The Hindu.
The ECI had earlier deferred polls in the two constituencies following evidence of bribing of voters. With this decision, the ECI has ignored Governor K. Rosaiah’s recommendation to conduct the polls in the two seats by June 1.
The Commission was “satisfied” that the election process in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur was “seriously vitiated and can not be allowed to proceed and ought to be rescinded so that fresh elections may be conducted denovo in these two constituencies when the atmosphere becomes conducive to the holding of free and fair elections after a reasonable lapse of time,” the EC official said.
The ECI had considered the reports of Observers, Special teams of central observers, report of the special team of observers of Aravakurichi and Thanjavur and representations of contesting candidates of these two constituencies.
The report of Special Observer to Aravakurichi stated: “It is intriguing to mention at this stage that even after the postponement of the poll in the constituency, under the scanner now, from 16.05.2016 to 23.05.2016, 11 complaints were made by various people on 17th and the 18th May, 2016 regarding money distribution etc. A seizure of Rs.5.72 lakhs in cash made on 18th May, 2016 by the FST from a vehicle further bolsters the apprehension that the money distribution has become entrenched in the political culture here”
The revised schedule for these ACs will be recommended by the ECI in due course of time.