Chennai: The Election Commission of India has cancelled the by-election to the Tiruvarur assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu slated for January 28. State electoral officer Satyabrata Sahoo on Sunday reportedly said that the Tiruvarur byelection was cancelled as the cyclone Gaja relief was not distributed to many areas of the constituency. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was issued by the Cauvery Delta Farmers Association, represented by its general secretary V Sathyanarayanan, seeking to stall the by-election so that relief work is carried out in the region hit by Cyclone Gaja in November.

An all-party meeting was held at Tiruvarur on Saturday. The District Election Officer (DEO wanted the Election Commission to postpone the by-election till the relief measures are completely met. However, another representative from Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam wanted the Election Commission to conduct the Tiruvarur by-election as scheduled.

According to a report, EC secretary Malay Mallick in a written letter said, “I am directed to intimate that the commission has rescinded forthwith the byelection in Tiruvarur.” The release dated January 6 further said, “All actions and steps taken by the returning officer, district election officer and all other electoral authorities concerned are hereby declared as null and void.”

Nominations opened Thursday with the issuance of the notification for the bypoll, necessitated by the death of late DMK president M Karunanidhi in August last year.

When the petition came up for hearing, the bench sought to know from the EC’s counsel Nirajan Rajagopal whether the election notification would hamper the rehabilitation works for the victims of the cyclone that ravaged Tiruvarur and several other districts.

The counsel said the chief secretary after seeking appropriate permission from the EC can carry on the relief operations and there would not be any impediment. Recording the submission, the bench in its order said under Article 324 of the Constitution, the EC had been conferred powers for the conduct of elections. In the considered opinion of this court, no case had been made out for grant of interim orders, it said, dismissing the miscellaneous petition seeking a stay on the notification for the poll.

(With Agency inputs)