The election commission has ordered for re-polling in a total of thirteen polling booths spread across five Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu on May 19. The state election commissioner had recommended re-polling in 10 polling stations while another 46 booths were recommended for re-polling based on the reports of general observers and returning officers.
There were no complaints about irregularities by any political parties in certain booths for which re-polling have been announced. But, the booths in which severe irregularities were reported have not been recommended for re-polling. The opposition parties led by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) have strongly condemned the decision of the election commission.
8 Booths to Go for Re-polling in Dharmapuri
The Dharmapuri constituency will witness maximum number of booths going for re-polling in the state. The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), a dominant force in northern part of Tamil Nadu was charged with preventing representatives of opposition parties from entering the polling booths. Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, former union minister of health and family welfare contested from this constituency on behalf of PMK as part of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) - Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) alliance.
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The District Collector paid multiple visits to certain booths which have traditionally seen dominance by the PMK cadres in the past elections. However, the Election Commission was helpless in curbing the mass intimidation of the PMK in the region.
VCK Demands Re-polling in Chidambaram Constituency
The Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) led by Thirumavalavan, who is also the candidate in Chidambaram Lok Sabha constituency had written to the Election Commission about the widespread violence reportedly by PMK cadres in the constituency. The party had demanded a detailed enquiry on the violence reported in Ponparappi village in the constituency where houses of dalits were attacked and prevented from voting.
The party’s press release questioned the Election Commissioner’s recommendation for re-polling in 46 booths without any complaints from political parties. The release also demanded the appointment of Special Election Commissioner for the counting of votes in the state.
Re-polling in Theni Raises flak
The EC’s order for re-polling in one booth in Theni Lok Sabha constituency has irked the opposition. The deputy chief minister O Panneer Selvam’s son is the candidate from the constituency. Earlier this week, 50 voting machines were shifted from various locations to Theni. All the opposition parties flayed this move after which the District Collector explained that the machines were shifted as per the instructions from the Election Commissioner.
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The state EC had been under severe attack for delaying the conduction of local body elections which is due since the last three years. The EC has been yielding to the demands of the state government to delay the elections.
The EC has come under severe criticism like never before in the history of the institution. The decisions made by the commission in favour of the ruling BJP has raised doubts on the autonomy and the functioning of the institution itself. The BJP-led government during its tenure has been attacking all the constitutionally created institutions for cheap political gains, which has raised disturbing questions about the smooth conduct of the elections as well as its outcome.