Election Commission says it is ‘not in a hurry’ to announce bye-election in Wayanad
The Wayanad Lok Sabha seat was declared vacant shortly after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a member of Parliament last week.
The Election Commission on Wednesday said that it was not in a hurry to declare a bye-election in the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat, which was declared vacant shortly after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a member of Parliament last week, ANI reported.
“We have six months time to hold a by-election after a seat falls vacant,” Chief Election Commission Rajiv Kumar said. “The trial court has given 30 days time [to Gandhi] for judicial remedy. So, we will wait.”
On March 23, a court in Gujarat sentenced the Congress leader to two years imprisonment in a criminal defamation case. He was found guilty in a case related to his speech ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in which he referred to thieves as having the surname Modi.
The court had also granted bail to Gandhi and suspended his sentence for 30 days in order to allow him to appeal against the verdict.
A day later, Gandhi was disqualified as a member of Parliament. Under the Representation of the People Act of 1951, a legislator sentenced to jail for two years or more stands to be disqualified from the date of conviction until six years after serving time.
Shortly after this, the Lok Sabha website also listed Wayanad as a vacant constituency. Gandhi’s Lok Sabha membership will be reinstated if his conviction is stayed by a higher court.
The Congress leader won the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Wayanad, which was the second seat that he contested. He had also contested the election from the Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh but was defeated by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Smriti Irani. Gandhi had earlier represented Amethi from 2004 to 2019.
Opposition leaders have alleged that Gandhi’s conviction in the defamation case is politically motivated, while legal experts speaking to Scroll have opined that the Congress leader’s comments did not defame all persons with the Modi surname.