The Election Commission (EC) on Monday declared that polls to the three Rajya Sabha seats from Kerala falling vacant later this month will be held on April 30.
The poll panel issued a detailed press note for “conduct of biennial election to the council of states from Kerala to fill the seats of members retiring on April 21”.
Those retiring from these seats include Abdul Wahab (IUML), KK Ragesh (CPI M) and Vayalar Ravi (Congress).
The EC said notification for the polls will be issued on Tuesday and polling will be held between 9 am and 4 pm on April 30. The votes will be counted on the same day.
In Rajya Sabha polls, votes are counted in the evening.
The election process for these seats were in the news recently after the EC had earlier put in abeyance these polls.
The decision of the poll panel to issue a fresh schedule came on a day when the Kerala High Court directed it to hold the biennial election to the three Rajya Sabha seats from the state from the present state assembly.
“It is seen that at least after it arrived at the decision that it”s the duty to see that the vacancies are filled up at the earliest, the commission is yet to take any steps for the same,” the court said.
“When the Commission itself has admitted that it is duty-bound to conduct the election and complete the process at the earliest, it is only appropriate that it takes expeditious steps without further delay to complete the election before another electorate comes into existence on May 02, 2021,” Justice PV Asha said in the order.
Days after the EC put the Rajya Sabha polls in the state in abeyance, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had questioned the “political intervention” behind the commission’s decision.
The EC had then responded by saying that the Law Ministry has “no remit” to make recommendation on the schedule of Rajya Sabha elections.
Monday’s press note said the EC had then “received a reference” from the Law Ministry “wherein a question of constitutional propriety was raised.”
Initially, election to the three Rajya Sabha seats was to be held on April 12.
Members of legislative assembly elect Rajya Sabha members. The MLAs of the outgoing assembly, in which the ruling LDF has a majority, were to elect the three new members. Polling for Kerala assembly elections were held on April 6 and counting will take place on May 2.
Rajya Sabha elections are usually held before the expiry of the term of retiring members.