PMK to keep off Tamil Nadu assembly by-poll

December 31st, 2008 - 2:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Dec 31 (IANS) The PMK, the fourth largest party in the Tamil Nadu assembly, will stay away from the electoral fray in the upcoming Tirumangalam by-election and not campaign for either the AIADMK or the DMK.Instead, it will concentrate on building the party, said a PMK leader Wednesday.

The PMK, which parted ways with the ruling DMK-led alliance in August and has 18 legislators in the assembly, believes it should concentrate on building the party.

“We are following the formula propounded by former chief minister M.G. Ramachandran in 1985 and are leaving it to those wishing to `fight’ the violence-marred election. In our opinion, the party to which the deceased MLA belonged ought to have been given the choice of nominating another person in his place,” a senior party leader said.

“A retired judge of the Madras High Court Gnanaprakasam also recommended the same method recently. Since the result will not change any political equation in the state - or at least in the assembly, we are concentrating on building the party,” the leader added.

The seat fell vacant after the death of MDMK lawmaker Veera Ilavarasan Nov 8.

MDMK’s main ally the AIADMK contesting the elections is involved in a bitter fight with the DMK.

The tussle has become interesting as the smaller parties including outfits led by actors-turned-politicians Vijaykanth’s DMDK and Sarath Kumar’s AISMK have also fielded candidates.

The ruling and opposition sides have accused each other of indulging in violence in which police and party vehicles were damaged.

The state’s Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta expressed his dismay Tuesday during an interaction with reporters in Madurai 400 km south of here abutting the Tirumangalam constituency.

“It is a matter of distress. Lots of wrong things have happened in the last couple of days. It is very unfortunate. I am answerable to the Election Commission and would soon submit a report in this regard,” Gupta said.

At least 60 AIADMK workers, including legislator A.R. Samy from Melur constituency, have been remanded to judicial custody till Jan 13.

Led by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s elder son M.K. Azhagiri, the DMK is pulling out all stops to win here through an aggressive campaign.

The divided opposition, however, is giving it a run for its money.

Polling is scheduled to take place Jan 9.

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