AIADMK emerged victorious in all by-elections since 2011
With the Election Commission announcing its plan to hold the Yercaud Assembly by-election on December 4, the State will be facing the fourth by-election since the formation of the present Assembly in May 2011.
This election will assume significance as it will be for the first time in the State that electronic voting machines and ballot papers will have a provision for “none of the above” option. A week ago, the Supreme Court directed the Election Commission that voting machines in future should have a provision for people to record the option.
Located in the Salem district, the Yercaud constituency is one of the two seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST), the other being Senthamangalam in the neighbouring Namakkal district. The present by-poll has been necessitated by the death of the ruling party legislator C. Perumal in July. In all the previous by-elections held in the last two years, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) emerged victorious.
A perusal of the trend of voters’ turn out in Yercaud since 1991 reveals that the lowest rate of turnout was 61.1 per cent in 2001 and the highest was 85.4 per cent in 2011. Of the five elections, the AIADMK won on three occasions (1991, 2001 and 2011) and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam twice (1996 and 2006).
As on October 1, 2013 [when draft electoral rolls were published for the entire State], the strength of electors in Yercaud was about 2.35 lakh. Women are marginally higher than men. Their number is 1,17,771 whereas men account for 1,16,958. There are five transgender electors.
Asked whether Yercaud would have the summary revision as scheduled originally, a senior official in the State Public (Elections) Department replied in the affirmative. Pointing out that as the last date for submission of applications for inclusion or deletion or correction of details is October 31, he says that the applications of those who attained the age of 18 years as on January 1, 2013 will be taken up on a fast track basis and their names will be included in the electoral rolls.
To a query whether the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system would be adopted, the official says the latest announcement of the Election Commission has no reference to it.
Though the system was used for the first time in the recent by-election to the Noksen assembly constituency in Nagaland, one should keep in mind that Noksen had only 22 polling stations as the electorate was 12,088. But, in the case of Yercaud, the number of polling stations is 280, the official adds.
With the announcement of the schedule, the entire Salem district is covered by the model code of conduct, though only certain aspects of the code are applicable to the constituency, according to a press release from Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar.