The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday postponed polling in two Tamil Nadu assembly constituencies for the third time, saying bribery by candidates continued unabated despite warnings.
Polling in Thanjavur and Aravakurichi was first postponed after the Rs 100 crore was seized from the two constituencies days before polling. Polls were rescheduled for May 23.
However, Rs 5,72,000 was seized on May 18, prompting the ECI to postpone elections a second time until fair elections could be guaranteed. The poll was scheduled to take place on June 13.
Tamil Nadu went to polls on May 16, following which AIADMK returned to power for a second term.
In a press statement on Saturday, the commission clarified its decision to postpone the elections for a third time in a row: "To the utter dismay of the Commission, allurement of voters by unlawful means still continued even after postponement of polls."
"The Commission's attempt has always been to conduct elections in a timely manner," the press statement continued, "but the important Constitutional mandate of having to ensure free and fair elections cannot be overlooked."
The ECI said elections would be held in Thanjavur and Aravakurichi only when "the atmosphere becomes conducive to the holding of free and fair elections after a reasonable lapse of time."
Tamil Nadu governor K Rosaiah has been formally asked to rescind the earlier notification that set the voting date to June 13. The governor on Friday approached the commission and recommended that the elections be held as soon as possible.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Saturday urged the ECI to hold the elections before June 6 due to Ramzan and Rajya Sabha elections.