Local body polls: SEC’s all-party meet tomorrow

Chennai: Ahead of local body polls, State Election Commission has called for an all-party meet tomorrow at 11.30 a.m. The meeting will be chaired by State Election Commissioner R Palaniswamy.

According to sources, inputs from political parties in connection with the civic elections will be received by the SEC during tomorrow’s meet. Various crucial things are to be discussed.

Indicating that the stage is set for the long pending civic polls in Tamilnadu, the State Election Commission on 18 November informed the Supreme Court that notification for local body elections will be issued on 2 December. Following this, the SEC held review meetings with various district Collectors.

Meanwhile, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court was recently moved against the State government’s decision to hold indirect election for the Mayors of Corporations and chairpersons of Municipalities.

The Court has said that it would take up the issue, moved by advocate Neelamagam, if it is filed as petition.

A public interest litigation was also moved yesterday in the Madras High Court seeking to restrain the Tamilnadu State Election Commission from announcing the civic body elections without reserving posts like deputy Mayors, which are filled through indirect elections, for members of members of SC/ST communities and SC/ST women proportionate to their population.

The Tamilnadu government on 20 November promulgated an ordinance for the indirect election of Mayors of Municipal corporations and Chairpersons of municipalities, saying it will lead to stability.

The ordinance comes after the State government had reverted to direct election of Mayors and other civic body chiefs by the people, after moving a Bill in this regard in the Tamilnadu Assembly in January 2018.

The civic polls, scheduled to be held in 2016, are yet to be conducted following litigation.

In the explanatory statement in the ordinance, the government said if a Mayor or Chairperson belonged to one particular political party and the majority of the Councillors to another, then the civic body chiefs ”fail to get utmost co-operation from the Councillors.”

The civic polls to elect over 4,400 plus Councillors in urban local bodies, including Corporation and Municipalities, and about 8,200 town panchayat ward members are expected to be held before the year end.

As regards rural civic bodies, there are posts including that of village panchayat presidents (12,524) and ward members (99,324).

The civic polls were originally slated to be held in October 2016 but had been delayed following litigations in the Madras High Court and later in the Supreme Court over aspects including reservation of seats.

When the State Election Commission announced local body polls in 2016, DMK approached Madras High Court and stayed the notification as there were some issues in the reservation for the Adhi Dravidar (SC/ST) candidates. Since then, the local body polls were not conducted in Tamilnadu.

NT Bureau