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Karuna warns hunger strike against EC

The Tamil Nadu CM says he will sit on a fast unto death if the Election Commission defers the date of Madurai by-polls by even a week.

india Updated: Jun 22, 2007 17:07 IST

A by-election in Madurai is creating ripples in Tamil Nadu's troubled political waters, with Chief Minister and DMK leader M Karunanidhi threatening to go on an "indefinite strike" if the Election Commission defers the date by even a week.

Karunanidhi has said he would sit on a fast unto death outside the Nirvachan Sadan, housing the office of the chief election commissioner in New Delhi.

DMK leaders allege that the AIADMK wants the election, scheduled on June 26, postponed because they fear losing its Madurai seat and are hoping that it could be held later when the political situation is more favourable.

The Madurai assembly seat fell vacant due to the death of AIADMK leader SV Shanmugam in February 2007. He had defected to the DMK later on.

According to DMK sources, the Election Commission last week replaced the district collector of Madurai, the city police commissioner and six senior police officers and placed its chosen officers to supervise the by-poll.

The recently appointed district collector has received a notice from the Election Commission that polls would be postponed if any unauthorised vehicles were found in the vicinity of the constituency, the sources added.

"The Tamil Nadu government has taken all precautions to hold the Madurai by-elections in a free and fair manner. But some reports have come that the Election Commission is contemplating postponing the elections.

"If they still decide to postpone the elections, the chief minister will come here and observe a fast unto death outside the Election Commission office," central Minister of State for Finance and DMK MP SS Palanimanickam told IANS late on Thursday.

Tamil Nadu's Chief Election Officer Naresh Gupta was in New Delhi on Friday for discussions.

Election Commission spokesperson Rajesh Malhotra said, "I don't know of any such thing. So far no decision has been taken."

First Published: Jun 22, 2007 15:02 IST