In a first, Tamil Nadu will not be holding simultaneous elections for its urban and rural local bodies owing to “administrative reasons”. The state election commission on Monday announced that elections to rural local bodies will be held in two phases on December 27 and 30. Dates for the urban local bodies will be announced on a different date, state election commissioner R Palanisamy said.
The elections will be conducted through ballot papers, Palanisamy said, nominations will begin on December 6 and the last date for filing is December 13. The nominations would be scrutinized on December 16 and the last date to withdraw the nomination is December 18, he said.
The counting of votes will begin on January 2 and will be completed by January 4. Following the announcement, the model code of conduct came into force from today.
DMK president M K Stalin called the state election commission “spineless” for allegedly succumbing to pressure from Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy who allegedly wanted elections to be held for only the rural local bodies.
“Despite receiving several warnings from the Supreme Court and High Court for their irregularities, the EC and the Chief Minister haven’t changed over the years. The EC has stooped too low that it is ready to function from a corner of the AIADMK’s office,” he said.
Stalin also accused the AIADMK government of violating the Supreme Court orders by passing an ordinance to conduct indirect elections to the posts of posts of corporation mayor and chairperson of municipal and town panchayats.
“The AIADMK government has not carried out delimitation in the wards in newly-created districts. They have not implemented reservation for women, Scheduled caste and Scheduled Tribe members. They passed an ordinance for conducting indirect elections, they have violated the orders of the Supreme court. The AIADMK government is expecting someone to get a stay against the elections, but DMK respects democracy. The AIADMK had started distributing the Pongal gift hamper of Rs 1,000 even one month before the actual festival. Despite all these irregularities and the fact that both the government and the EC will misuse power, the DMK-led alliance is confident of winning the elections,” he said.
There are 15 municipal corporations, 152 municipalities, and 561 town panchayats in Tamil Nadu. In rural, there are 655 district ward panchayat members, 6,471 panchayat union ward members, 12,524 village panchayat presidents, and 99,324 village panchayat ward members.
The rural elections will be held in two phases for 1,18,974 posts in village panchayats, panchayat unions, and district panchayats. In the rural body sector, there are a total of 3,31,36,086 voters.
Four different colours of ballot papers will be used — pink for panchayat president, white for panchayat ward member, green ballot for panchayat union ward member, and yellow for district panchayat ward member election.
The panchayat president and the ward member will be elected on a non-party basis and the district panchayat ward member and panchayat union ward member will be elected on a party basis.
The EC would depute an IAS officer for each district to monitor the election proceedings. The EC has identified 31, 698 polling booths for the first phase and 32,092 for the second phase. Each district will have 870 election officers, and 16,840 assistant election officers will be monitoring during the elections.
Meanwhile, the much-debated indirect elections to the post of district panchayath, panchayath union, chairperson and vice-chairperson will take place on January 11. A total of 13, 362 posts would be filled up in the rural local body elections through indirect polls.
The ruling party got into a tussle with the opposition after promulgating an ordinance approving indirect elections for the posts of corporation mayor and chairperson of municipal and town panchayats. Defending the move, the Tamil Nadu Government reasoned that there will be better stability and collective responsibility among the elected representatives if the elections were conducted indirectly.