The long-awaited local body polls are finally underway in Tamil Nadu, albeit only for rural local bodies. The first phase of the polls, delayed by over three years, takes place on Friday. The second phase is scheduled for December 30, Monday. The counting of votes will take place on January 2, 2020. Polling began at 7 am on Friday and will go on till 5 pm.
According to one report in The Hindu, the polls will seek to elect 37,830 panchayat members, 2,546 panchayat unions and 260 ward members of district panchayats even as 156 panchayat unions go to polls. Nearly 50,000 police personnel have been deployed across the state, as per the newspaper.
According to one report in PTTV, voters heading to other districts from Chennai were inconvenienced by the lack of buses at the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT) in Koyambedu. One commuter asked, “No bus is heading towards Mayiladuthurai. When the bus comes, it is without a name board. It passes by very fast, how can we board it? How can we cast our vote and return?”
As per Supreme Court orders, local body polls are not taking place just yet in nine districts— Kallakurichi, Tenkasi, Tirupattur, Ranipet, Chengalpattu, Villupuram, Tirunelveli, Vellore and Kancheepuram— as they have been impacted by the creation of new districts. Polls in these districts have been postponed.
The government of Tamil Nadu had created five new districts from four big districts. The Supreme Court order came on a petition filed by the DMK seeking a cancellation of the local body polls in the state, citing non-completion of delimitation in these districts. In its petition, the DMK had also stated that the people living in these districts will be confused due to lack of delimitation and reservation of seats.
The second phase of polling, to be held on December 30, will similarly elect 255 ward members of district panchayats, 2,544 panchayat union members and 38,916 rural panchayat members.