CHENNAI: The long-awaited partial elections to the prestigious constituency of Assembly R K Nagar, which became vacant after the death of former cheif Minister J. Jayalalithaa, will be held on December 21, the Electoral Commission announced on Friday. Immediately after the Electoral Commission published the schedule for polls, the District Elections Officer and Commissioner of the Chennai Corporation D. Karthickeyan announced that the model code of conduct has already entered into force and designated K. Velusamy, joint director of the Adidravida welfare department, like the official who returns for the elections.
When announcing the schedule of the partial elections, canceled in April due to the unbridled use of the power of money, the EC said that the votes cast in the December 21 elections would be counted on December 24, which falls on Sunday. While the presentation of nominations will begin on November 27 and continue until December 4, the scrutiny will take place on December 5 and the last date for the withdrawal of nominations would be December 7, the EC said.
The schedule was announced days after the supreme court of Madras ordered the ECs to conduct the lists of incidents until December 31, while listening to the appeal of the DMK leader, R. S. Bharathi. The recruitment calendar also came a day after the Electoral Commission recognized the faction led by EPS-OPS as AIADMK and assigned it the symbol of Two Leaves.
Jayalalithaa had contested twice in the electoral district of RK Nagar in 2015 and 2016. The bypolls are expected to serve as the litmus test for the AIADMK government as it is likely that the constituency will witness a four-way contest with nominees of AIADMK, DMK, BJP and TTV Dhinakaran jumping into the fray.
“K. Velusamy, joint director of the welfare department of Adidravida, has been designated as the returning officer for the electoral district, while Tondiarpet tahsildar S. Murugesan and the tahsildar R. Subramanian special have been appointed as returning assistant”, Karthickeyan told reporters after chairing a high-level meeting.
The zonal office of the corporation in Tondiarpet would serve as the office of the returning officer, said Karthickeyan and asked the public not to post any notice on the walls of the constituency. He also asked the officials to cooperate with the administration to ensure that the ballot boxes are carried out freely and fairly. Bypoll at RK Nagar previously scheduled for April 12, 2017, was canceled by the EC after a report from the tax department that documents seized during searches at the premises of an accountant from Health Minister C. Vijayabhaskar showed that Rs 89 crore was channeled to RK Nagar through party officials. The amount was allegedly channeled through many party officials for distribution to voters, I-T sources said.