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Councillors object to `reservation' of wards

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TAKING UP AN ISSUE: Members participating in the Tirunelveli Corporation council meeting on Monday. Photo: A. Shaikmohideen.
TAKING UP AN ISSUE: Members participating in the Tirunelveli Corporation council meeting on Monday. Photo: A. Shaikmohideen.

Staff Reporter

For women and Dalits in the next local body elections

TIRUNELVELI: With rumours on reservation of wards of Tirunelveli Corporation for women and Dalits in the next local body elections are rife, a section of the councillors raised objections in the council's extra-ordinary meeting held here on Monday.

Based on the Census 2000, the Corporation administration has prepared a list of reserved wards for Dalits and Women and the list is likely to be sent to the State Election Commission and the State Government by mid-August.

As the contents of the list were reportedly made available to the present councillors by some lower-level corporation officials, the members, who are likely to be `affected' by this proposed reservation, became furious.

Particularly, councillors from the Muslim-dominant Melapalayam area were up in arms against the proposal. They argued that most of the Muslim women would not involve themselves in public life and contest elections. "If most of the wards of Melapalayam zone were reserved for women, it would help women contestants from other communities only and not the members of Muslim community."

"It is against natural justice and we won't accept this proposal. There will be series of protests in Melapalayam area," said councillor Shajahan, whose ward has been reportedly reserved for women (general).

The Commissioner, T. Mohan, said the proposed reservation had been made only based on the Census and rotation and that there was nothing wrong in it.

"The present list prepared by us is not final, as it has to get the approval of the State Government and the State Election Commission. Only after it is published in the gazette, it will attain a final shape. So don't raise objections based on the rumours," Mr. Mohan said.

The Mayor, A. Jayarani, and her deputy, Viswantha Pandian, said the councillors could submit their objections in writing to the Commissioner before end of August.

When the agenda for the meeting - number of polling stations to be established within the Corporation limits - was taken up for discussion, most of the members said they were not provided with the list of polling stations and hence, they were not prepared for any discussion.

Mr. Mohan said the members would be supplied with the list of polling stations soon though it was not mandatory. He said 358 polling stations would be established during the local body elections.

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