October 11th, 2011
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Tiruchi by-election: Countdown starts

By poll , Trichy by-electionTRICHY: Campaign for the much talked by-election to Tiruchi West Assembly constituency came to an end today. M.Paranjothi of AIADMK and DMK’s former Minister K.N.Nehru are the main contestants in the by-poll, slated for 13 October, necessitated by the death of AIADMK Minister Mariam Pitchai in a road accident.

Nehru, who was arrested on land grabbing charges recently, was released from Cuddalore jail this morning on bail. He rushed to Chennai and sought blessings of party supremo M.Karunanidhi, before he left for Tiruchi. The heated campaign in the constituency witnessed big guns of Tamilnadu politics, including Chief Minister and AIADMK general secretary J.Jayalalithaa and DMK president M.Karunanidhi, seeking votes for the candidates fielded by their respective parties.

Only on Monday, the Election Commission deferred counting of votes in the by-election to 20 October in view of the two-phased civic polls in the state. The counting was originally slated for 17 October, the day when the first phase of local body elections is to be held.

The decision to defer the counting was taken following requests from certain political parties, Tamilnadu Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar said. DMK and PMK among others have demanded deferring of the counting, saying the by-poll outcome could have a bearing on the voting pattern for local bodies.

The parties have insisted that counting of votes in this key constituency should not be taken up before 19 October, the final phase of the civic polls. Meanwhile, Praveen Kumar has issued clear  instructions to Presiding Officers, in-charge of by-election to Tiruchirapalli (West) that they should close the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) by pressing the ‘Close Button’ at the end of polling in the presence of all polling agents.

In an official statement, he said the Election Commission has pointed out that there were complaints in the past that some Presiding Officers did not close the EVMs by this method. As this could lead to suspicion about manipulation, the Commission has been issuing various instructions in this regard in the interest of free and fair poll from time to time, he said.

To avoid such contingencies during the by-election to Tiruchirappalli (West), scheduled for October 13, all Presiding Officers should close the EVM by pressing Close Button at the end of polling in the presence of agents.


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