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EC in no hurry over Rahul Gandhi’s vacant Wayanad Lok Sabha seat

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi

The Election Commission today did not announce a byelection for the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala, which has fallen vacant as Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as an MP after a court sentenced him to a two-year jail term in a defamation case.

While the date for Karnataka assembly election has been fixed on May 10  and the byelection for the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant due to the death of the MP for the constituency, has also been announced.

The widely anticipated schedule for the Wayanad byelection was not mentioned in today’s announcement.

C hief Election Commissioner RajivKumar said, “The Election Commission is not into politics. Under section 151 of the Representation of People’s Act, the Commission has six months to hold polls to the constituency of Wayanad. Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi has been given 30 days by the trial court to exercise judicial remedy. So we will wait. There is no hurry.”

“We have cleared vacancies till February. This vacancy (Wayanad) was notified in March. A 30-day period has been given for appeal. We are not in a hurry,” Kumar added.

He cited the Representation of People Act, 1951, to say byelections need to be held within six months of any vacancy.

Rahul Gandhi was disqualified on Friday, a day after a Surat court sentenced him to a two-year jail term in a defamation case over his remark on the Modi surname filed by a BJP leader.

The Representation of the People Act, 1951, says that anyone convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more stands disqualified.