For "failure" to hold local body elections
SIVAGANGA: Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has said that former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa "has failed to follow the constitutional obligation of conducting local body elections" during her tenure of the Chief Ministership from 1991 to 1996.
He was speaking at various wayside meetings held at Karaikudi, Kallal, Alankudi, Kalaiyarkoil and other parts of Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram districts on Monday to seek votes for the Democratic Progressive Alliance candidates.
He said that it was compulsory on the part of State Governments to conduct local body elections regularly, according to the constitutional amendment initiated by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in order streamline the panchayat institutions.
Though it came into effect from 1991, the then State Government led by Ms. Jayalalithaa never bothered to conduct the elections despite a warning from the Central Government that funds would not be allocated to the State Government, if it failed to conduct the elections.
Mr. Chidambaram said the then rulers thought that the entire control of running local bodies should be in their hands.
It ruined the panchayat institutions, as no one did know about the functioning of the local bodies, the Minister said.
He said that panchayat elections in Tamil Nadu were conducted only after the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-Tamil Manila Congress combine won the Assembly elections in 1996.
The Minister said that ever since the United Progressive Alliance Government assumed office at the Centre, a significant contribution had been made to develop all kinds of infrastructure including roads, ports etc.