India: Election Commission cancels RK Nagar bypolls in Chennai
Chennai RK Nagar bypolls. (Representative image) Photograph: (Reuters)
The Election Commission has cancelled the by-elections in Chennai's RK Nagar constituency, a day after cash-for-votes allegations surfaced.
EC cancels RK Nagar bypoll in Chennai and rescinds notification. #TamilNadu— ANI (@ANI_news) April 9, 2017
The elections were earlier scheduled to be held on Wednesday. The Election Commission said that the bye-elections shall be held by the poll panel in due course when the vitiating effect created by the distribution of money and gift items to allure the electors, as mentioned above, gets removed with the passage of time and the atmosphere in the constituency becomes conducive to the holding of free and fair election.
The decision came after Income Tax raids in Chennai found money was distributed to voters. The by-elections in RK Nagar became necessary after the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, who represented it for two terms.
The stakes for the by-polls were very high as the results would have been a verdict of sorts in the war between the two rival factions of the ruling AIADMK. Fresh clashes had broken out yesterday between the supporters of O Panneerselvam (OPS) and TTV Dinakaran, in which one person sustained injuries.
An OPS faction candidate was attacked by a Dinakaran camp supporter. However, no key leaders were on the spot and the situation was contained immediately by security personnel.
On April 7, several people got injured after a clash broke out between the members of Sasikala and O Pannerselvam factions of AIADMK in RK Nagar area, where by-polls are set to be held on April 12th. During the clash, E Madhusudhanan's car, a member of the Pannerselvam camp, was also damaged.
The AIADMK party, which is now divided into two groups, has been witnessing political turmoil after the demise of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
Earlier, both the factions also staked claim over the election symbol "two leaves," where Sasikala camp moved the Election Commission challenging the use of party symbol by the Panneerselvam-led camp. However, the Election Commission froze the election symbol and alloted two new symbols to both the factions.
"Neither of the two groups shall be permitted to use the 'Two Leaves' symbol of the AIADMK," the Election Commission stated.