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Decision to hold Lok Sabha by-polls in Karnataka in tune with R P Act, 1951: Election Commission

The Election Commission had on Saturday announced the by-polls to Shimoga, Bellary and Mandya Lok Sabha constituencies, and Ramanagara and Jamkhandi assembly constituencies would be held on November 3.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2018 22:08 IST
Lok Sabha by-polls,Karnataka,Karnataka by-polls
Election Commission officials seal an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) prior to the start of voting at a polling station in Dibrugarh, Assam. (AFP photo)(AFP File Photo)

The Election Commission Tuesday said its decision to hold by-polls to three Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka is in accordance with the Representation of the People Act, 1951, as the poll body face questions over the need for the exercise when general elections are due early next year.

The Commission issued the clarification in the wake of media reports questioning why it had not announced the by-elections to fill five Lok Sabha vacancies from the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, as had been done for Karnataka.

It said vacancies from Bellary (ST), Shimoga and Mandya constituencies of Karnataka occurred on May 18 and May 21, 2018 respectively, whereas vacancies from the five parliamentary constituencies from Andhra Pradesh occurred on June 20. The Commission said Section 151 A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 mandates it to fill the casual vacancies in the Houses of Parliament and state legislatures through bye elections within six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy, provided that the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is one year or more.

The term of the sixteenth Lok Sabha is upto June 3, 2019.

The Commission said, “As the vacancies from Karnataka have occurred more than one year before the expiration of the term of House, bye elections are required to be held under Section 151A of R P Act 1951 to fill these vacancies within six months from the date of occurrence of vacancies, that is 18th and 21st May, 2018.” In the case of vacancies from Andhra Pradesh, there is no need to hold bye elections as the remaining term of the Lok Sabha is less than one year from the date of occurrence of vacancies that is 20th June, 2018, it said in a statement.

The EC had on Saturday announced the by-polls to Shimoga, Bellary and Mandya Lok Sabha constituencies, and Ramanagara and Jamkhandi assembly constituencies would be held on November 3.

The counting of votes will be on November 6.

Following the announcement, political parties in the state, while welcoming the schedule for assembly by-polls, expressed “surprise” about the decision to hold by-elections to three Lok Sabha seats.

Several political leaders raised questions about Lok Sabha by-polls being announced in Karnataka, while not doing the same for seats in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

“...even MPs in Andhra Pradesh had resigned...I don’t know what different law for both these states which are neighbouring states. The Election Commission and the central government have to tell us,” Karnataka Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar told reporters earlier Tuesday.

The by-elections had been necessitated after BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa (Shimoga) and B Sriramalu (Bellary), and C S Puttaraju of JD(S) (Mandya) resigned as MPs on their election to the assembly in May last.

By-polls to Jamkhandi assembly seat was necessitated following the death of Congress MLA Siddu Nyamagouda, while Ramanagara fell vacant as chief minister HD Kumaraswamy gave up the seat and retained Channapatna, the other segment won by him in the assembly elections.

First Published: Oct 09, 2018 22:08 IST