Thiruvananthapuram: State Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena stated that the by-elections to the five assembly constituencies in Kerala are likely to be held in November.
Political observers were critical of the fact that while bypoll to the Pala constituency was declared early to be held on 23 September, the five constituencies that fell vacant following four incumbents there becoming members of parliament, were left. Manjeswaram fell vacant following the death of its MLA. Pala constituency had fallen vacant on the death of former minister KM Mani in April.
Meena explained that as per law the election to a vacant seat has to be held within six months, i.e. by October in the case of Pala, and for the other seats there was time till November. In the case of Manjeswaram, there was an election petition filed by the losing candidate K Surendran, which was later withdrawn. However, only with the disposal of the case by the court based on the withdrawal, which happened in July, can the seat be treated as vacant. Threfore, the deadline for election is December.
The high court had ordered K. Surendran to pay Rs 42,000 to meet the court expenses for the case which Surendran has yet to pay. As soon as this is done, that seat will also become ripe for electoral steps.
The bypolls to the five constituencies other than Pala are likely to take place simultaneously. There is no issue regarding the conduct of bypoll in Vattiyoorkkavu. Meena also made it clear that the authority for all decisions related to conduct of elections rest with the Election Commission.