The byelection to the Thrikkakara assembly constituency in Kerala will be held on May 31. Counting of votes will take place on June 3.
The notification for the bypoll will be issued on May 4. Nominations could be submitted till May 11.
The bypoll was necessitated with the death of senior Congress leader P T Thomas on December 22 last year. Soon after Thomas' unexpected death, there have been speculations that the Congress will field Uma to retain the seat. Both Uma and the party have been silent on the matter so far.
Thomas had one term in the Lok Sabha and was a four-time legislator.
In 2016 and 2021 Thomas won easily from Thrikkakara assembly constituency. In the 2016 polls Thomas defeated veteran Sebastian Paul of the Left with a margin of 11,966 votes and five years later Thomas increased his victory margin to 14,329 votes. On both occasions there was a wave in favour of the CPM-led Left front.
The Congress leadership will meet in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday to decide the candidate.
In the 2021 elections, Thomas polled 59,839 votes while Dr Jacob came second with 45,510 votes. NDA's S Saji had to settle for 15,483 votes. Notably, the Twenty-20 Party, backed by the Kitex Group, had won over 13,000 votes in the contest. This time, the Twenty-20 is likely to enter the fray in alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party.
For Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who got a second term, the first in Kerala for any CPI-M chief minister, the by-election is going to be an acid test.
Bypolls in 3 seats
Along with Thrikkakara, Brajrajnagar in Odisha and Champawat in Uttarakhand will also go to polls on the same day.
According to the EC notification, the date of issue of gazette notification will be May 4, the last date of nomination will be May 11, date of scrutiny of nominations will be done on May 12, last date of the withdrawal of candidature will be May 16 while the date of withdrawing the candidature for Brajrajnagar and Champawat will be May 17 because of May 16 being a public holiday (Buddh Purnima).
The poll process in all three constituencies will be completed before June 5, it said.
The ECI said that the published electoral roll for these bye polls with effect from January 1, 2022 will be used and the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and VVPATs will be used in all polling stations and the district administrations have been provided with EVMS VVPAT machine.
All election related activities will be strictly complied as per the Covid-19 guidelines issued by competent authorities. Social distancing and use of mask, sanitisers, thermal scanning, face shield, hand gloves, as per Covid-19 protocol, have to be complied with.