Tamil Nadu

Urban local body elections likely after Pongal

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Administrative reasons behind delay, says SEC

Urban local bodies (ULBs) may have elections in January, most likely after the Pongal festival. Such an option is being contemplated by the State Election Commission, according to sources.

When this happens, the State’s practice of having simultaneous elections to rural local bodies (RLBs) and ULBs will get broken. Since 1996, four local bodies’ elections were held. On all the occasions, the polls were conducted together for the RLBs and ULBs.

A senior functionary of the ruling AIADMK says that his party is confident of registering an “emphatic victory” in the polls to the RLBs. This “success” can be cited while facing the electorate of the ULBs, he says.

Only in the case of ward councillors of panchayat unions and district panchayats, direct elections will take place, which will be on party lines. This means that political parties will have to fight for getting their nominees elected to only 7,126 posts. Though they will have another round of battle for the posts of chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of panchayat unions and district panchayats, this will be indirect elections — elected ward councillors of the two RLBs choosing their chairpersons and vice-chairpersons.

As for the rationale behind the decision to separate the elections of the ULBs from those of the RLBs, State Election Commissioner R. Palaniswamy insisted that it was done for “administrative reasons.”

When The Hindu asked him whether the State government had made any request for holding the elections separately, he said he would not be able to go beyond saying “administrative reasons.”

Sources in the government said that the State government did not make any suggestion to the State Election Commission on how to conduct the polls. “It’s the decision of the Commission,” the sources said.

Pointing out that many other States follow the practice of holding elections separately for ULBs and SLBs, a senior official says that in Maharashtra, even in the case of municipal corporations, the elections are staggered.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2019 3:00:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/urban-local-body-elections-likely-after-pongal/article30142753.ece

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