New Delhi: In a first in India’s electoral history, the Election Commission on Saturday decided to rescind the notification and conduct polls afresh “in due course of time" to two Tamil Nadu assembly seats following evidence of money being used to influence voters.
Earlier, the Election Commission had on two occasions postponed polls to the Aravakurichi and Thanjavur constituencies following reports of large scale distribution of money and gifts to voters by candidates and political parties. Initially, the polls were postponed from 16 May to 23 May. On 21 May, the Election Commission decided to once again postpone the polls to 13 June. Tamil Nadu went to assembly polls on 16 May, in which the AIADMK returned to power for a second consecutive term.
The Election Commission said it took the decision after considering reports of observers, special teams of central observers, report of the special team of observers of Aravakurichi and Thanjavur constituencies and representations of contesting candidates.
“...the EC is satisfied that the election process in the two constituencies, because of inducing electors by candidates and political parties by offering money and other gifts to woo them in their favour, is seriously vitiated and cannot be allowed to proceed and ought to be rescinded so that fresh elections may be conducted de novo in these two constituencies when the atmosphere becomes conducive to the holding of free and fair elections after a reasonable lapse of time," an official said, quoting a Commission order.
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 the use of money to induce voters is so far unheard of