It’s official: TN local body polls 27, 30 December

Chennai: After a gap of three years, the Tamilnadu State Election Commission (SEC) today announced that the revised election schedule for rural local bodies will be held in two phases as per the earlier schedule on 27 and 30 December.

Talking to reporters here, State Election Commissioner R Palaniswamy said as per the Supreme Court order, elections would not be be held in nine newly carved districts, while it would be held in the rest of the State.

He said filing of nominations will begin on 9 December and the last date for filing of nominatons was 16 December. The scrutiny would take place the next day and the last date for withdrawals was 19 December, he said.

The counting of votes would be taken up on 2 January, 2020. Barring in the nine new district, the model code of conduct comes into force immediately in the remaining 27 districts and the poll notification will be issued on Monday, he added.

He said ballot method will be followed in Grama Panchayat elections and four types of coloured ballot papers would be used in the polls. He also said elections would be held in a total of 49,688 polling booths and the voters would be given booth slips with their photo affixed on them.

”Indirect elections to Mayors and Municipality Chairmen will be held on 11 January,” he said. He said the elections for urban local bodies could not be held now due to administrative reasons and dates would be announced soon.

Palaniswamy said in the first phase on 27 December, elections would be held for 37,380 posts and in the second phase on 30 December for 38,914 posts. Stating that the Supreme Court order was not a set back to the SEC, Palaniswamy said all steps would be taken to ensure a free and fair elections.

It may be noted that on a petition filed by main Opposition DMK, the Supreme Court yesterday put on hold the elections for local bodies in nine new districts for complying with legal formalities such as delimitation and reservation in four months.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde accepted the suggestion of the Tamilnadu government that it was willing to put on hold the local body polls in the nine districts for complying with legal formalities such as a fresh delimitation exercise and for deciding the issue of reservation for women and SC/ST candidates.

The Bench also said that there would not be any legal impediment in holding the elections in the remaining districts of the State.

The local body polls were earlier scheduled to be held in October 2016 but was stayed by the Supreme Court after the DMK filed a plea to postpone it till reservation and delimitation of wards were completed.

The local body polls were likely to witness a multi-cornered contest with the ruling AIADMK, DMK, AMMK led by TTV Dhinakaran and Makkal Needhi Maiam of actor-politician Kamal Haasan in the fray.

While the AIADMK-led front included the BJP, PMK, TMC, DMDK and  NJP, the DMK-led front comprised of Congress, the two left parties, CPI and CPI(M), VCK, MDMK, IUML and IJK.

The AIADMK-led front has already started seat-sharing talks with its allies and the first round was held last evening and it continued today also.

NT Bureau