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Friday 21 September, 2018, 2:51 am

RK Nagar bypolls to be held before Dec 31: Chief Election Commissioner

Chennai: By-elections to RK Nagar assembly constituency, which was rescinded in April due to allegations of rampant use of money power, will be conducted by the end of this year, Chief Election Commissioner AK Jyoti said in New Delhi on Thursday.

The Election Commission cancelled the byelection, which was scheduled on April 12, after its officials and flying squads of the Income-Tax department concluded that rampant use of money power had vitiated the atmosphere in the constituency.

“The legal position is that byelections will have to be conducted by this year according to an order by the court. So, the Election Commission will hold the by-elections (to R.K. Nagar seat) by December 31, 2017,” Jyoti told reporters, while announcing the dates for Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.

Jyoti’s statement puts at rest speculation on when the election would be held in R.K. Nagar, which fell vacant after the death of Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. The EC had invoked a special clause in the law to postpone the byelection to the constituency by citing the “extraordinary situation” in the state.

The elections, if held by December, will be the first acid test for the EPS-OPS Government after the much-talked about merger in August and will come at a time the faction led by TTV Dhinakaran is fighting hard to rock the government boat. Already, Speaker P. Dhanapal has disqualified 18 MLAs supporting Dhinakaran and the case is pending before the Madras High Court.

Cancellation of the bypoll to R.K. Nagar also came two days after I-T department allegedly recovered documents that said Rs 89 crore was to be distributed among the constituency voters  by members of ruling AIADMK. The document allegedly had the names of top brass of the government.

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