Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: Over 200 non-governmental organisations across the State have joined hands to campaign for free and fair polling in this year's local bodies elections.

At a press conference here on Wednesday, the Tamil Nadu NGO Alliance for Empowering Panchayat Government announced that it would spread awareness among voters, train and support candidates from people's movements and monitor the elections.

In 2001, the alliance trained and supported 1,200 candidates, and almost 75 per cent of them won, the Alliance claimed.

This time round, it was doubling the figure to 3,000 socially committed candidates, many of whom are Dalits, women or represent other marginalised groups.

The thrust would be on monitoring the poll process, before, during and after the elections.