TAMIL NADU

Palanichamy new EC

CHENNAI, FEB. 15. V. Palanichamy, today took over as the new State Election Commissioner. He succeeded P.S. Pandiyan, who superannuated on Thursday.

Talking to The Hindu after taking over the new post, Mr. Palanichamy said his primary job would be to conduct elections to the post of five village panchayat presidents and one town panchayat chairman, where poll could not be held for various reasons. Elections to these posts were likely to be conducted in March along with casual elections to 267 vacancies in various local bodies, caused due to various reasons, including resignation, disqualification and death of elected members, he said.

Keeripatti, Pappapatti and Nattarmangalam panchayats in Madurai district and Kottakatchi Yendal in Virudhunagar district are reserved for SCs and the election could not be held in October last as no one filed nomination papers ``fearing alleged backlash by caste Hindus.'' In the case of Melasanthambur in Namakkal district and Sholingar Town panchayat, no one came forward to file nomination papers after the death of one of the contesting candidates in both the panchayats.

Though Mr. Palanichamy was appointed the new State Election Commissioner by the Government on Thursday itself, no official posting was issued. Even officials of the Information and Public Relations Department here were not aware of the posting till this afternoon.

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