The Election Commission on Sunday rescinded the bye-election to the Thiruvarur Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu scheduled for January 28, The Hindu reported. In a communication sent to state Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo, the commission said the bye-election was postponed as the district administration remained “preoccupied with relief and rehabiliation work”.

The bye-election was necessitated after the death of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam patriarch M Karunanidhi in August 2018. Several parties, with the exception of TTV Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, on Saturday had demanded that the bye-election be deferred due to the ongoing relief work in the region following Cylone Gaja.

The Madras High Court on January 4 rejected a petition asking it to stay the bye-election. Communist Party of India leader D Raja then approached the poll body asking for the bye-poll to be deferred. Sahoo had asked Thiruvarur Collector L Nirmal Raj and the district election officer for their views, and the district administration had sought the opinions of all the political parties.

The state chief secretary had also written to the commission on January 3 and sought to defer the byepoll. “Thiruvarur districts is one of the main which bore the brunt of the cyclone and it will take at least three months for life to return to normal in the district,” said the commission. “Therefore, she requested not to hold the bye-election to Thiruvarur Assembly constituency before April 2019.”

In his report to the commission furnished on Sunday, Sahoo mentioned that all political parties had requested to postpone the electoral process in view of the ongoing relief work. The Thiruvarur district election office in its report added that the district administration would need time to establish how many families had temporarily moved away after the cyclone struck.

Only the DMK and the AMMK had named their candidates for the bye-election. The DMK chose district secretary Poondi Kalavanan, while the AMMK nominee was S Kamaraj.