Chennai: State Election Commission (SEC), which earned the wrath from Madras high court for not adhering to election norms leading to suspension of civic polls, is in no hurry to hold the elections and is now deserted.
With the Opposition parties crying foul against SEC, the commission has decided to wait and watch, informed official sources said adding that a section of SEC staff members is now having extended holidays.
When DC visited the SEC headquarters on Friday and Saturday, the office remained deserted with no poll activities and some officers were on leave.
However the petition cell and officers dealing the legal issues were on duty. “For the last two months, we had regular visitors from different political parties, but after the Madras HC postponed the elections, the footfall has drastically reduced”, said a SEC insider adding that only advocates and their associates arguing for the election related petitions pending before Madras high court and Supreme court are now visiting the SEC office.
With the commission lifting the model of conduct, the voters outreach programmes like insertion of commercial slides in cinema theatres and cables TVs, voter awareness programme in remote areas and the final training for government staff on poll duty are also suspended in a few districts, SEC sources said. Though the state election commissioner P. Seetharaman is attending to his office chores everyday, the re-view meetings and discussions scheduled with district collectors and top police officers are put on hold, as the status of civic elections are pending before the top courts.
Meanwhile, aspiring candidates of the ruling AIADMK who filed nominations for the post of councillors have also suspended their campaign. “Probable Chennai mayor candidate N. Balaganga of our party has also suspended his campaign. Elections will be certainly conducted in a matter of a few weeks, but how can we campaign when our Amma (party leader Jayalalithaa) is hospitalized”, asked Madras high court advocate and AIADMK functionary C. R. Sreedhar of Central Chennai....