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Poll panel urged to hold Tamil Nadu by-poll soon

Chennai, Feb 11 (Calcutta Tube) A delegation of MPs from Tamil Nadu belonging to United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Thursday met Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla in New Delhi and urged him to hold the by-poll for the Pennagaram assembly constituency soon.

‘Around 25 MPs belonging to DMK, Congress and VCK met Chawla and urged him to hold the election at the earliest. We told him that it is not right to postpone the poll based on wild allegations,’ DMK MP T.K.S.Elangovan told IANS on phone from New Delhi.

According to him, Chawla told the delegation that the Election Commission will take a decision after a review meeting slated on Feb 17 that would consider the report from the state’s chief electoral officer (CEO).

Originally scheduled to be held on Jan 20 this year, the by-poll was postponed to February by the Election Commission upon the representations from opposition parties – AIADMK, MDMK, PMK, Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) – that the Pongal and Tamil New Year festivals falls during the campaign period and the assembly session that would start Jan 6.

They also said the Election Commission had declared the poll date in an undue haste within 21 days of the death of sitting legislator P.N. Periannan (DMK).

However, the ruling DMK and its ally Congress had opposed the decision.

When the electoral rolls were revised in 2010, several political parties made a complaint to the Election Commission about omission of around 30,000 voters from the list.

‘This is a wild allegation. Officially there have been only 30 complaints about omission from the voters list,’ Elangovan said.

However the commission deferred the publication of the final list and asked the the CEO to verify the complaints and take appropriate action.

It also asked CEO to direct District Election Officer, Dharmapuri district to hold a meeting of the representatives of the political parties to discuss the issue.

On the basis of the CEO’s report, and after final publication of electoral rolls, the poll panel will take a decision on the dates for holding of by-poll in Pennagaram considering issues like school examinations, religious festivals and others.

To a question about March and April are exam times, Elangovan said: ‘It is true. We had requested the Commissioner to hold the poll at an appropriate date before the exam season start.’

For DMK which has 99 members in the assembly excluding the speaker, winning the Pennagaram seat is important to touch the magic 100 figure.

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