The main opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam DMK today filed a plea in the Supreme court, urging it to speeden up the hearings in the case of disqualification of 11 AIADMK MLAs including Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam. When it came up before Justice A K Sikri, he said the case would be taken up for hearing this week itself. This is being viewed as a victory for the DMK and the setback for the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
This development comes a day after DMK president M K Stalin slammed both the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre for any attempt to further delay the holding of by-elections to 21 Assembly seats lying vacant in Tamil Nadu. In a hard-hitting statement, the Leader of Opposition also reiterated DMK's plea to hold elections to them simultaneously with the ensuing Lok Sabha polls.
"The ECI is an independent, constitutional body and it should uphold democratic norms by holding by-elections to the 21 vacant Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu along with the ensuing Parliamentary elections; but if the ECI buckles under pressure from the BJP government allegedly goading it to put the Assembly by-polls on hold, then the ECI will be committing a terrible historic blunder to write a black chapter in the poll panel's history," he said.
Stalin said: "In order to have an alliance with AIADMK, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP has assured them for not conducting by-elections in 21 assembly seats along with the Lok Sabha polls." "ECI must save the deer of democracy from the hunter of the BJP dictatorship," he said and added: "Without any compromising, I will ask the ECI to use the Constitutional powers to conduct by-elections for 21 assembly constituencies along with Lok Sabha elections."