By-polls can't wait longer, announcement likely soon

EC may not delay decision till dissolution of Assembly

The Delhi election office may announce the dates for by-polls to the three Assembly seats in the coming week, if the central government does not dissolve the House by then.

Officials said the Election Commission’s decision on the by-election will be independent of the stand that the central government takes on whether to dissolve the hung Assembly.
The three vacant seats in the 70-member House – Krishna Nagar, Tughlaqabad and Mehrauli – have to be filled by November 25.

The BJP legislators from these constituencies resigned after getting elected to the Lok Sabha in May.

A Delhi election office functionary said, “The Election Commission will follow the Constitution which says a vacant seat has to be filled within six months.”

He said the Commission may not wait for the Supreme Court hearing on October 28 in which the central government has to present its stand on dissolution of the Assembly.
“We need about a month to hold the by-poll. If the House is not dissolved around October 25-28 or at the most month-end, the dates for the by-polls may be announced,” he said.

Summary revision

The election office has already started the summary revision of the rolls and the exercise is likely to take about three months.

“The summary revision may not have any impact on the conduct of the by-polls, if at all these are held,” said an election department official.

There would be no need to hold by-elections if the central government decides to recommend to President Pranab Mukherjee to dissolve the House.

“The only way the by-polls can be avoided is that the government recommends dissolution of the House,” he said.

The Assembly was placed under suspended animation in February after the Aam Aadmi Party government led by Arvind Kejriwal resigned.

After the 2013 Assembly elections, the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 32 seats, including ally Akali Dal’s one MLA.

The saffron party fell four seats short of a simple majority and refused to form the government, saying it did not have the numbers.

The Aam Aadmi Party with 28 MLAs later run a 49-day government with the support of eight MLAs of the Congress.

The new party’s strength has now come down to 27 after the expulsion of party MLA Vinod Kumar Binny, who is now an independent. There are two others in the House.

The BJP-Akali Dal number in the House came down to 29 after the Lok Sabha polls in May as three BJP legislators Harsh Vardhan (Krishna Nagar), Ramesh Bidhuri (Tughlaqabad) and Pervesh Verma (Mehrauli) became MPs and gave up the membership of the Assembly.

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