New Delhi: The Election Commission cancelled the by-election for the Chennai's Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly constituency late on Sunday, two days after cash-for-votes allegations surfaced.
The elections were earlier scheduled to be held on April 12.
The Election Commission said that the by-elections shall be held by the poll panel in due course when the vitiating effect created by the distribution of money and gift items to allure the electors gets removed with the passage of time and the atmosphere in the constituency becomes conducive to the holding of free and fair election.
Slamming the Election Commission's decision, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran said: "This is a wrong decision, even the Election Commission does not want me to win. They can delay but can`t deny." Dinakaran had filed his nomination for the seat that was held by late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on March 23.
The decision came after Income Tax raids in Chennai found money was distributed to voters. The department had on Saturday said that around Rs 100 crore has been distributed to RK Nagar voters by the AIADMK faction led by the now-jailed VK Sasikala,
On Friday, I-T officials raided the residences and business premises of Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, his relatives as well as persons close to him and his business associates.
"We have seized cash totalling Rs 5.5 crore. We have also seized documents showing Rs 89 crore changed hands in RK Nagar," an I-T official had told news agency IANS.
The by-elections in RK Nagar became necessary after the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, who represented it for two terms.
The stakes for the by-polls were very high as the results would have been a verdict of sorts in the war between the two rival factions of the ruling AIADMK.
Fresh clashes had broken out on Sunday between the supporters of O Panneerselvam and TTV Dinakaran, in which one person sustained injuries.
OPS faction candidate was attacked by a Dinakaran camp supporter.
However, no key leaders were on the spot and the situation was contained immediately by security personnel.
On April 7, several people got injured after a clash broke out between the members of Sasikala and O Pannerselvam factions of AIADMK in RK Nagar area.
During the clash, E Madhusudhanan`s car, a member of Pannerselvam camp, was also damaged.
The AIADMK party, which is now divided into two groups, has been witnessing political turmoil after the demise of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
Earlier, both the factions also staked claim over the election symbol `two leaves,` where Sasikala camp moved the Election Commission challenging the use of party symbol by Panneerselvam-led camp.
However, the Election Commission froze the election symbol and allotted two new symbols to both the factions.
(With Agency inputs)