After a delay of three years, the State Election Commission announced the dates for rural local body polls in Tamil Nadu. The polls will be held in two phases on December 27 and December 30. The poll dates for urban local bodies, however, will be announced later, said Tamil Nadu State Election Commissioner R Palaniswamy, citing administrative reasons.
According to the announcement made by the State Election Commission on Monday, the counting for the rural local body polls across Tamil Nadu to elect representatives for village panchayats will be on January 2. The EC also announced that the first representatives’ meeting will be held on January 6.
Nominations for the local body elections will begin on December 6 and will end on December 13.
However, the DMK, the main opposition party in the state, moved the Supreme Court in November, asking the government to carry out a delimitation exercise in view of wards in newly-created districts in the state (Tenkasi, Kallakurichi, Tirupattur, Ranipet and Chengalpet). The party has expressed concerns about confusion in the conduct of polls even as the Chief Minister has said that the creation of these new districts had no bearing as polls will take place per last year's reclassification of wards.
The AIADMK government recently cleared a proposal to hold indirect elections to elect Mayors in Corporations and Chairpersons of Municipalities and Panchayats. This was a U-turn by the state government that had maintained till October that the post of mayor will be elected through direct polls across the state.
Tamil Nadu’s local body polls were due to be held in October 2016 and were initially stayed by the Supreme Court after the DMK filed a plea to postpone the polls until reservation and delimitation of wards are completed. Since then the ruling AIADMK government also postponed the polls due to various reasons including Cyclone Gaja in 2018. The announcement has been in the pipeline for some time now since the Union government had made it clear that the funds pertaining to local bodies will be released to Tamil Nadu only after the representatives are elected.
The local body polls are likely to see a multi-cornered contest with the AIADMK, DMK and the AMMK in the fray. The AIADMK is in an alliance with the BJP, PMK and the DMDK, while the DMK is in alliance with Congress, VCK and MDMK.