Palanikumar told the meeting that the Commission was fully prepared to hold the election any time and that all necessary arrangements had been made. (Representational Photo:AP)
Chennai: Election fever slowly sets in as the State gears up for the Urban Local Body polls with the authorities all set for the event and the political parties, too, starting the process of selecting candidates to contest for the various posts in the 21 Corporations, 138 Municipalities and 490 Town Panchayats.
Since the old system of holding indirect elections will be followed in the polls that are likely to be held in the second week of February, voters would be selecting their respective ward members and councilors, who will subsequently choose the chairpersons for the town panchayats and municipalities and the Mayors for the Corporations.
Holding the polls for all the urban local bodies on a single day was the overwhelming demand of all the political parties that took part in a preliminary level meeting called by the State Election Commission (SEC) at its office in Chennai.
The meeting, in which representatives of recognized political parties took part, was presided over by the State Election Commissioner V Palanikumar with senior officials from the SEC and Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi participating in it.
Palanikumar told the meeting that the Commission was fully prepared to hold the election any time and that all necessary arrangements had been made.
Besides finalizing the voters’ list and also announcing the reservation for women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Caste women in the wards and posts of chairpersons and Mayors, the Commission has also begun the training of officials who would be involved in the conduct of the elections.
DMK’s representative at the meeting, Girirajan, later told the media that the demand for a single phase polling was a unanimous one voiced by all the parties, apart from the insistence on strictly following Covid-19 protocols.
Pollachi Jayaraman of AIADMK said that they pointed out some discrepancies in the electoral rolls, in which some names were repeated.
The time suggested for the polls was between 7 am and 6 pm, with the last one said R Damodharan of the Congress, while BJP’s Karu Nagarajan said that they wanted para military personnel to be deployed in all the sensitive wards.
The Election Commission had reacted positively to all the demands placed by the various representatives, which also included the fixing of CCTV cameras to monitor the polling process, they said.
Even as the SEC was making the preparations, political parties also swung into action to gear up for the polls that are expected to be announced by January 22, giving not much time for the campaign.
Of the political parties, Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Neethi Miam was the first to announce the first list of 47 candidates for the coming polls on January 13 itself.
The ruling DMK has started the selection process by entrusting the responsibility with the district level office-bearers, who would also be dealing with the alliance partners at the local level to finalize seat sharing and seat allocation.
Others like the AIADMK, Congress and BJP, too, have started receiving applications from aspirants, though the recent announcement on the reservation of the wards would lead to a change in the profile of the applicants, some of whom would be seeking interest for the first time.
The Naam Tamilar Katchi and the DMDK have announced that they would go it alone in the elections while the DMK and AIADMK would continue the same alliances they had for the earlier rural local body polls.