The city has been witnessing the ripple effect of the absence of elected civic body representatives for the last three years. The death of three persons during the last eight days, involving banners, live electric wire and EB pole, points to the urgent need of conducting local body polls and making elected representatives accountable to the public.
Civic polls, scheduled to be held in October 2016, were stalled due to series of cases filed by the DMK and the response given by the ruling party. While the Madras HC repeatedly questioned the undue delay in holding elections, the state government said it was finalising the delimitation of wards according to 2011 census.
The high court even warned of initiating contempt proceedings if the State Election Commission (SEC) did not submit the poll schedule on time. Soon the matter reached the Supreme Court. With the Delimitation Commission submitting its recommendations and the state government notifying the territorial wards of civic bodies and reservation of seats and wards, the SEC assured the top court that the notification for the polls would be issued by October 31, 2019.
Meanwhile, the Opposition parties alleged that state had lost several crores of Central grant due to the delay in conducting polls. Recently, the state minister met the Union finance minister and handed over a letter written by the CM seeking early release of pending basic and performance grants for local bodies.
Elected representatives play an important role in helping their ward people at macro level to handle issues like flooded roads, banners, protruding or hanging power cables, dilapidated EB poles and ration shops. On the flip side, people feel that elected representatives are biased and fail to conduct themselves in a non-partisan manner.
Special officers, whose tenures have been extended by promulgating ordinances at regular intervals, are managing the local bodies now.
But people have been finding it difficult to get their grievances redressed with them.
While the SEC is gearing up to conduct the much-awaited polls, call to announce election date has grown louder. Due to delimitation exercise, the number of voters and polling booths is likely to go up this time.
This election will help in fixing the accountability of 200 ward councillors in Chennai and other panchayat leaders throughout the state, besides promoting local self-governance....