The Election Commission has asked Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta to hold a meeting with representatives of recognised political parties to discuss revising the schedule of the by-election to the Pennagaram Assembly constituency in Dharmapuri district.
The meeting has been convened following representations from Opposition parties for a postponement of the by-election, scheduled for January 20, in view of the Pongal festival falling in mid-January.
The meeting will be held on Sunday at the Secretariat, Mr. Gupta said, adding that he would, later, send a report to the Commission on the basis of the viewpoints presented by the parties.
There are 11 recognised parties, seven of which are national and four State parties.
While the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Communist Party of India, the CPI (Marxist), the Nationalist Congress Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Bahujan Samaj Party belong to the category of national parties, the remaining four — Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Pattali Makkal Katchi and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam — are State parties.
The Commission’s directive has come even as the process of submitting nomination began on Saturday. But no candidate has filed nomination, Mr. Gupta said.
It was on December 22 — the day before the declaration of results of the Tiruchendur and Vandavasi by-elections — that the Commission announced that the by-election would take place on January 20.
The by-election was necessitated by the death of the MLA representing Pennagaram, P.N. Periannan (54), on December 1.
Immediately after the announcement, the PMK approached the CEO to take up with the Commission to ensure that the election is deferred in view of Pongal. On Thursday, the Commission intimated to the party that there would be no change in the election schedule.
The AIADMK, the MDMK and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) also demanded the postponement of the election.
DMK president and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, while announcing his party nominee, stated that the State government was not consulted by the Commission on the date for the by-poll.
However, he said his government would abide by the Commission’s decision.