Tamil Nadu local body polls: phase one records 76% turnout

Stray incidents of violence were also reported in the state.
Tamil Nadu local body polls: phase one records 76% turnout
Tamil Nadu local body polls: phase one records 76% turnout
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The first phase of the long pending rural local body polls in Tamil Nadu concluded on Monday with a turnout of 76.19 percent across 27 districts in the state. While the polling began at 7 am and was largely peaceful, the polls also saw violence in Thiruvallur where a few attempted to burn a ballot box. They were arrested later. In Pudukkottai, news reports said that a booth capture was attempted.

Meanwhile, a public interest litigation has been filed in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission not to declare results of the ongoing rural local body elections till urban civic polls were conducted.

General Secretary of Satta Panchayat Iyakkam Senthil Arumugam filed the PIL which is expected to come up for hearing before the vacation bench on Saturday.

The petitioner submitted that local body elections were held simultaneously in rural and urban areas in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011, but this time it was being conducted for rural local bodies alone from December 27 to December 30 in 27 districts.

Conducting such separate elections in two parts was against level-playing field which is mandatory in a democratic election and the announcement of results in one phase, scheduled now on January 2, would affect the polls in other parts, yet to be notified.

Alleging further it would prejudice the minds of the people, the petitioner submitted that the announcement of an unopposed candidate was already made by respective election officers in some places.

The petitioner sought a direction from the court to state election commission not to declare the results of the elections of the rural local bodies till the urban civic polls are completed.

In another petition related to the local body polls, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) leader D Parventhan sought a direction to the SEC to provide adequate police protection and CCTV monitoring during the counting of votes polled in the current phase of the elections.

He alleged that in violation of the relevant elections rules the ruling AIADMK workers were itself misusing their power instigating and virtually threatening the officials who are deputed for the election work to act in a biased manner to and in favour of their party candidates.

Apprehending that malpractices would take place during the counting of votes, the petitioner requested the court to order installation of CCTV in all counting centres and to give adequate police protection.

Former DMK MLA A Raja also filed a PIL seeking installation of CCTV cameras in the strong rooms where the ballot boxes would be kept and uninterrupted power supply in order to prevent any malpractice.

The two petitions are likely to come up for hearing on Monday.

(With PTI Inputs)

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