Soon after Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi announced the Assembly election schedule on Tuesday evening, the district administration recalled all official vehicles provided to leaders of local bodies.

These vehicles were immediately brought to the Circuit House on the Collectorate complex.

The vehicles thus withdrawn, numbering about 26, are now placed solely under the disposal of Collector R. Palanisamy, who is also the District Election Officer.

Official sources told The Hindu that the government had provided vehicles to 22 panchayat union chairpersons, three municipal chairmen and a district panchayat chairman.

Instructed to surrender vehicles

As these were political appointments, the incumbents could not enjoy government benefits during the election period or until the model code of conduct was in force. Hence, they were instructed to surrender their vehicles along with the drivers.

The sources said that the vehicles would remain stationary for a couple of days - till the election process gains steam. Until then, four drivers would be posted at the Circuit House on a turn duty, two in daytime and two in the night, to take care of the vehicles. The vehicles would be used by mobile monitoring committees for inspection rounds. They would also be deployed to carry polling officials, materials and flying squad. The vehicles that are in the custody of the District Election Officer would be given back to the local bodies after the elections.

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