The supporters of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) should exercise the option not to vote, under Section 49 (O) of the Conduct of Election Rules, in the by-elections to Tiruchendur and Vandavasi Assembly constituencies to be held next month, party leader S.Ramadoss said here on Friday.

The PMK’s decision to boycott the by-elections was not due to the fear of facing elections but based on certain reasons.

“It is consistent with our stand that there is no need to hold a by-election in an Assembly or Lok Sabha constituency unless the vacancy arose out of a court verdict. Otherwise, the party, which had won the seat in the general election, should be allowed to retain it,” Dr.Ramadoss said addressing a press conference here.

The dominant role played by money power in recent elections was another reason behind the party’s decision. Even former and present Election Commissioners had conceded the role of money power but said that they did not have the powers to arrest the trend. However, he reiterated that the party would be ready to face the by-polls if Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi convened an all-party meeting to reach an agreement that no party would lure voters with money.

Pressing for electoral reforms, Dr.Ramadoss called for the introduction of a provision in the ballot papers to allow voters to directly record their decision not to vote for any of the contesting candidate. If such votes were higher than those secured by the tally of the leading contestant, re-election should be held. This would help check the role of money power in the election, he said.

Answering a query on the Mullaperiyar dam issue, Dr.Ramadoss said the PMK or the Pasumai Thayagam would implead in the case before the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court to protect the rights of Tamil Nadu.