Elections to the local bodies in Tamil Nadu will be held in two-phases on October 17 and 19, State Election Commissioner S.S. Ayyar said on Wednesday.

In the first phase, elections will be held for nine municipal corporations, 60 municipalities, 259 town panchayats and 191 panchayat unions. There was no announcement regarding the Tiruchi Corporation.

Sixty five municipalities, 270 town panchayats and 194 panchayat unions will go to the polls in the second phase.

Talking to reporters here, Mr. Ayyar said the model code of conduct came into effect on Wednesday night and filing of nominations would begin on Thursday (September 22). The last date for filing nomination is September 29 and scrutiny will be held on September 30. The last date for withdrawal is October 3.

Counting of votes will be on October 21 and the swearing-in ceremony and the first meeting of the representatives of local bodies who are directly elected will be held on October 25.

In the case of those who are indirectly elected – panchayat union chairmen and vice-chairmen, district panchayat chairmen and vice-chairmen, town panchayat vice-presidents, deputy Mayors and deputy chairmen of municipalities – the swearing-in ceremony will be held on October 29.

Mr. Ayyar said for the first time electronic voting machines (EVMs) would be used in urban local bodies – Municipal Corporations, Municipalities and in Town Panchayats.

There will be two EVMs in every booth, one for the election of mayors, chairmen of municipalities and presidents of town panchayats and another for election of councillors. Another important feature, Mr Ayyar said, was online preparation of electoral rolls.

Besides photo identity cards, voters would be given booth slips with their photos. The booth slips would be delivered directly by government employees to voters a week in advance.

Voters who failed to get slips would be able to collect them on the day of election near the polling booth.

Asked about the allegation of DMK president M. Karunanidhi that the list of constituencies reserved for SC/STs and women was given to the ruling party in advance, Mr. Ayyar said the State Election Commission had nothing to do with delimitation and reservation of constituencies.

“Our role is confined to preparation of electoral rolls and conduct of elections,” he stressed.

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