The State Election Commission on Saturday issued a revised notification for local body polls in the light of the Supreme Court putting on hold the polls in newly created nine districts and clearing the decks for the rest of the State.
State Election Commissioner R Palanisamy who released the revised schedule, stuck to two phase polls and even the dates. The only new announcement was that elections for the posts of mayors and chairpersons of local bodies would be held on Jan 11.
Accordingly, polls to rural local bodies will be held between Dec 27 and 30. Polls for ward members of urban local bodies will be held early January next year and they will elect mayors and chairpersons on Jan 11. The Supreme Court had ordered fresh elections in the State barring in the new nine districts on the basis of objections of the DMK in a petition that delimitation of wards had not been completed and no explicit reservation had been made for women and scheduled castes and tribes. Without knowing that, parties cannot select candidates.
The election commission did not even give more time for nominations. It said they would be accepted between Dec 9 and 16. Scrutiny would be the next day. And the last date for withdrawal would be Dec 29, Counting of votes would be taken up on Jan 2, 2020. Palanisamy also said barring the nine new districts, the model code of conduct had come into effect immediately in the remaining 27 districts and the poll notification will be issued on Monday.
He said ballot method will be followed in grama panchayat elections four types of coloured ballot papers would be used in the polls. Palaniswamy said in the first phase on December 27, elections would be held for 37,380 posts and in the second phase on December 30 for 38,914 posts.
Stating that the Supreme Court order was not a setback to the SEC, Palaniswamy said all steps would be taken to ensure a free and fair election. Except for excluding nine new districts as per Supreme Court directive, it has stuck to the same phase of polls.
Whatever its reservations, the DMK is expected to take the plunge as party chief M K Stlaikn has welcomed the Supreme Court verdict while Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami has hailed it as historic.