New Delhi/Chennai, Nov 24: The Election Commission on Friday announced by-election to the Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu on December 21, a day after it allotted the AIADMK's "two leaves" symbol to the ruling faction headed by Chief Minister K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.
The counting of votes and results would be announced on December 24. The poll body also said the bypoll for assembly constituencies in Arunachal Pradesh (Pakke Kasang, Likabali), Uttar Pradesh (Sikandra) and West Bengal (Sabang) will also be held on the same day. According to the EC, the two constituencies of the Arunachal Pradesh are reserved for Scheduled Tribes. The Dr Radhakrishnan Nagar assembly seat fell vacant after the death of then Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016. The EC had to earlier cancel the by-election of the constituency on April 12 this year following allegations of large scale bribing of voters. The EC stated that filing of nominations would begin on Monday, the day on which notification would be issued. Nominations can be filed till December 4, and their scrutiny would take place on December 5. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is December 7. The poll panel said it will use Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) with Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in all the four constituencies. "The model code of conduct comes into force with immediate effect in the districts," the EC added. The Madras High Court had directed the poll body to hold the bypoll to the Radhakrishnan Nagar seat before December 31. "We will win the bypoll with huge margin and prove that we are truly the successors of late Chief Minister and party leader J.Jayalalithaa," former MP and spokesperson K.C. Palaniswamy told IANS in Chennai. He declined to comment on the party's probable candidate to fight the by-election. In April, when the AIADMK was divided into two -- one led by Panneerselvam and the other by jailed leader V.K. Sasikala and her nephew T.T.V.Dinakaran --, the former faction fielded E. Madhusudhanan and the latter Dinakaran. Later the Sasikala faction broke into two with Palaniswami leading one. With Panneerselvam and Palaniswami factions coming together and the Election Commission allotting the "two leaves" symbol and the party name to Panneerselvam/Madhusudhanan, AIADMK leaders told IANS there was no need to scout for another person in the place of Madhusudhanan. Speaking to television channels on the by-election to Radhakrishnan Nagar, Tamil Nadu Congress Chief S. Thirunavukkarasar said it will be a major test for the ruling AIADMK. He said this will be the first election to be faced by the AIADMK government after the death of Jayalalithaa and also after it got the "two leaves" symbol. Thirunavvukkarasar said Congress will support the DMK in the by-election. The Tamil Nadu BJP Chief Tamilisai Soundararajan said a decision to contest or not will be taken after consultations within the party. Last time, BJP had fielded music director Gangai Amaran as its candidate. J. Deepa, niece of Jayalalithaa too, jumped into the electoral fray last time forming MGR Amma Deepa Forum. It has to be seen whether she would contest this time. Dinakaran had earlier said he would contest in the by-election whenever it is held. IANS