CHENNAI: The DMK president M K Stalin on Thursday squarely laid the blame for the latest ordinance to enable indirect election of mayors/chairpersons for various urban local bodies by their respective councilors at the doors of the Chief Minister Mr. Edappadi K Palaniswami for “complete volte-face on the issue”.
Joining issue with the AIADMK co-coordinator who earlier in the day at Thoothukudi airport quoted Stalin’s statement in 2006 to drive home that the DMK leader himself had then preferred ‘indirect elections’ of chairpersons of urban local bodies for ‘better accountability’, Mr. Stalin said it was a fact that some changes were made to these electoral rules by both the earlier Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK regime and the M Karunanidhi-led DMK rule that followed it.
Those changes were made for reasons of administrative convenience, Stalin said. But Mr. Palaniswami has chosen to “completely change the policy” and decided to switch over now to indirect elections for all urban local bodies heads and “this is the real issue”, Stalin claimed.
After having declared that mayors of corporations and chairmen of municipalities will be “directly elected”, Mr. Palaniswami had been pushed to a corner by the courts to a situation where the holding of local bodies elections could not be delayed any further, Stalin said the Chief Minister has now changed the policy itself.
“Is it out of fear of facing the local bodies’ elections, has Mr. Palaniswami government now gone in for an ordinance to have indirect elections to facilitate executive highhandedness,” Stalin asked. Elections means meeting the people, but this mechanism of ‘indirect elections’ seems to be a maneuver to avoid meeting the people and rely on ‘executive highhandedness’, Stalin said, adding, the DMK, nonetheless, was ready to face the local bodies polls as “people’s power is on our side.”
Commenting on Stalin’s posers to the Chief Minister, his deputy Mr. O. Panneerselvem came to the AIADMK government's rescue on this issue at Madurai, saying that they had decided to switch over to indirect elections for heads of urban local bodies in deference to wishes of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. “Some new parties will join the AIADMK-led front for the local bodies’ polls,” he added.
Mr. Stalin later in a tweet expressed shock that the AIADMK government has still not rescinded the “politically motivated charges filed against peaceful Kudankulam protesters” even seven years after their agitation against the nuclear plant there.
Meanwhile, Tamizhaga Vaazhurimai Katchi (TVK) leader T Velmurugan who called on the DMK leader M K Stalin at the latter’s party office in Chennai, said his party would be part of the DMK-led alliance for the coming local bodies polls. He said TVK condemned the proposed red carpet welcome to the new Sri Lankan President Gottabaya Rajapaksha by the Modi government during his visit to India next week, as the Rajapaksha brothers were responsible for the massive genocide against the ‘Eelam Tamils’ during the last phase of the civil war in Lanka in 2009.
The CPI (M) state secretary K Balakrishnan who also met Mr. Stalin today said his party’s alliance with the DMK will continue for the coming local bodies elections....