The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and its alliance partner Congress on Sunday urged the Election Commission not to “set a wrong precedent” by postponing the by-election to the Pennagaram Assembly constituency, as sought by some political parties.
However, at a meeting convened by Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta, 10 parties, including the major opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Pattali Makkal Katchi, Communist Party of India and CPI(Marxist) wanted the election postponed to February since the current schedule was close to Pongal festival.
Political parties recognised by the Election Commission at the national level and in the State alone were invited.
Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) leader Thol Thirumavalavan, who earlier favoured a postponement, has now thrown his weight behind the DMK and the Congress. Since his party was not invited for the meeting, Mr. Thirumavalavan sent a letter expressing his viewpoint.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.V. Thangkabalu said if the election to Pennagaram was postponed on the ground that it was close to Pongal, similar demands would be raised in future citing some festival or other.
Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy, who represented the DMK, supported Mr. Thangkabalu’s argument that postponement of the election would set a wrong precedent.
Mr. Ponmudy said the real intention of the Opposition was just to postpone the victory of the DMK and its allies.
While CPI joint secretary C. Mahendran demanded the postponement on the ground that Pongal was a major cultural festival, CPI(M) State secretary N. Varadarajan pointed out that the government address in the Assembly on January 6 with various announcements would have a direct bearing on the by-election.
Later, talking to reporters, Mr. Gupta said he would send a report to the Election Commission about the views expressed by all political parties.