Tamil Nadu

Call to end ‘auctioning’ of local body posts

With 9 districts slated to witness elections to rural local bodies, the ‘auctioning’ of the posts of village panchayat presidents and panchayat union ward councillors has once again been reported — this time in a couple of northern districts.

The ‘auctioning’ was said to have taken place recently for the posts of presidents of Ulagalapadi village panchayat in Sankarapuram panchayat union of Kallakurichi district and Ponnankuppam village panchayat in Gingee panchayat union of Villupuram district, in addition to the posts of councillors of two panchayat union wards of Melamalaiyanur in Villupuram district.

The State Election Commission (SEC) had also instructed the Collectors of other districts to find out whether the practice had been resorted to. Any instance of the ‘auctioning’ of posts would be viewed ‘seriously’ and followed up to the logical end.

Political parties across the spectrum have condemned the practice and called upon the respective district administrations and the SEC to deal with any such instance sternly.

V.P. Duraisamy, vice-president of the State unit of the BJP, feels that one of the reasons that have contributed to the practice is the cheque-signing authority assigned to the village panchayat presidents.

“However, this does not mean that I am demanding the withdrawal of the power. There has to be more room for monitoring the function than there is under the present arrangement,” he clarifies. He suggests that those who have indulged in the practice be debarred from contesting in local bodies elections.

Echoing more or less his position, S. Semmalai, AIADMK leader from Salem, wants the officials to instil a sense of fear among wrongdoers by taking stringent measures against them. The authorities should not allow anyone to get elected unopposed. “As panchayat raj is the bedrock of our democracy, it should not be allowed to get disturbed in any way, and the contest should take place,” he says.

Pointing out that the practice of ‘auctioning’ is the outcome of a combination of the factors of caste, money power and authority, Vanni Arasu, VCK spokesperson, feels that in districts where the practice is reported, the police and other officials should be held responsible.

G. Palanithurai, an academician, says that for anyone to get elected through consensus, the criteria should be fixed in an objective manner. He says the SEC should postpone the elections in village panchayats or other rural local bodies that are witnessing the practice of the ‘auctioning’ of posts.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 4:38:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/call-to-end-auctioning-of-local-body-posts/article36600831.ece

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