A decision on the two Assembly bypolls pending in Kerala will be taken on September 29. The bypolls to the Kuttanad and Chavara constituencies are most likely to be cancelled with all the major political fronts in Kerala raising such a demand.
An all-party meeting convened by the Kerala chief minister had arrived at a consensus that the two bypolls are unnecessary as the newly elected MLAs would get only less than five months in office. The parties, including the ruling CPM and opposition Congress and BJP, shared similar views. They had also cited the rising number of COVID cases in the state as a reason for the practical difficulties in conducting the bypolls.
The Kuttanad and Chavara seats fell vacant after the demise of Thomas Chandy and Vijayan Pillai, both belonging to the Left front. The bypolls, if conducted, could be a trailer for the assembly elections due early next year. The current political scenario and alliance equations make the results unpredictable even as both the ruling LDF and opposition UDF exude confidence of winning both the seats.
The central election commission on Friday said that it will take a call on bypolls to one Lok Sabha and 64 assembly seats, including the two in Kerala, on September 29 after going through inputs provided by poll officials and chief secretaries of the states concerned.
Responding to questions on the issue during a press conference to announce the schedule for Bihar assembly elections, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said EC Secretary General Umesh Sinha will issue a press release of the schedule the same evening based on the decision taken at the poll watchdog.
Earlier, the EC had said in a statement that Bihar elections and the bypolls will be held around the same time.
Arora said when the EC had decided on holding the bypolls along with Bihar elections then it had no inclination towards some states sending representations to raise issues related to the bypolls.
He said most of the representations were received in the last one week and the commission will have to discuss the inputs before taking a final call.
Among the 64 vacant assembly seats, 27 are in Madhya Pradesh. Most of these 27 seats fell vacant when rebel Congress members resigned from the party and the assembly to join the BJP.
With the resignations of the Congress members, the Kamal Nath-led government fell and the BJP returned to power.
The bypoll to the Valmiki Nagar Lok Sabha seat in Bihar has been pending.
One assembly seat each in Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka and West Bengal; two seats each in Assam, Jharkhand, Kerala, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Odisha; five assembly seats in Manipur and eight each in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh are also vacant.
In July this year, the Election Commission had deferred the by-elections to one Lok Sabha and seven assembly seats beyond the six month period due to the onset of monsoon and possibilities of floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.