DMK moves Supreme Court on local body elections in Tamil Nadu:

[11/29, 09:59] Sekarreporter1: DMK moves Supreme Court on local body elections in Tamil Nadu: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/dmk-moves-supreme-court-on-local-body-elections-in-tamil-nadu/article30110827.ece
[11/29, 09:59] Sekarreporter1: AIADMK for holding the panchay polls at the ‘earliest’.
The DMK on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the authorities to carry out delimitation, reservation and rotational process before issuance of election notification for local body polls, taking into consideration the five new districts carved out in the State.

The party placed a similar demand at an all-party meeting convened by State Election Commissioner R. Palanisamy in Chennai, where it also sought single phase polls.
[11/29, 10:00] Sekarreporter1: However, the ruling AIADMK urged Mr. Palanisamy to ensure that the civic polls are conducted “at the earliest”, without giving room to some political parties to stall the elections.

Legal formalities
On November 18, the Supreme Court ordered the authorities to issue the election notification and also complete the legal formalities before December 13, the next date of hearing of the case in court.

The DMK in its application said only if the delimitation, reservation and rotation process and all formal legal requirements were completed before issuance of election notification would the process be free and fair.

The State government had informed that the polls would be conducted in accordance with the delimitation process completed in 2018.

The local body elections have not been held from 2016.

Earlier, AIADMK leader Pollachi V. Jayaraman, after the all-party meeting, said, “We urged the SEC to ensure that the local body elections are conducted in such a way that some political parties don’t go to court and get them stalled.”

He said the DMK had stalled the elections in 2016 by going to court citing lame reasons. “For three years the local bodies are not functioning. The SEC should not give room for such situation again,” he said.

Mr. Jayaraman also said the State Election Commission indicated that the elections would be conducted as per the previous system in the newly created districts, which is acceptable to AIADMK.

Asked about some parties seeking conduct of election in a single phase, he said the AIADMK would accept whatever the SEC decided based on its administrative convenience.

DMK representatives Girirajan and N.R. Elango said the party insisted that the elections are conducted as per the direction given by the Madras High Court, such as having EVMs in all booths. Besides, they wanted one Central government official to be appointed as an observer in each ward.

‘No assurance given’
The DMK representatives said the SEC gave no assurance on their demands and that the replies were not convincing. Mr. Girirajan said delimitation could be done in a proper manner by the State government within a week. The SEC, according to him, said the old system would be followed in case of conduct of elections for new districts.

“Vellore is now split into three districts, but has only one district chairman. We said that each district should have a chairman, otherwise there will be administrative difficulties,” he argued.

Meanwhile, an ordinance to facilitate the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the elections to rural local bodies with suitable provisions to town panchayats, muncipalities and municipal corporations was promulgated by Governor Banwarilal Purohit, following suggestions from the SEC and acceptance by the State government.

The ordinance also provides for the cessation of the Office of the Vice-Chairman of Panchayat Union or District Panchayat on being elected as Chairman of Panchayat Union or District Panchayat, as the case may be, in any casual vacancy.

R. Damodaran and S.K. Navas from the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee attended the meeting and sought for conduct of election in a transparent manner and in one single phase.

After attending the meeting, CPI South Chennai secretary Ezhumalai said his party had sought for conduct of elections in a transparent way and emphasized that the Chief Commissioner should be accessible to attend calls regarding complaints during elections.

S. Sundarajan and K. Udaykumar represented CPI(M) in the meeting.

A statement from CPI(M) state secretary K.Balakrishnan said key points put forth in the meeting were making all arrangements for conducting the elections without any delay, ensuring that there are no bogus voters and proper verification of voter list and conduct of election at one go, among others.

The BJP wanted the State Election Commission to rectify errors in the voters list.

“There’s still some complications in the list – for example in certain houses, one or two people are deleted from the list. They should clarify who approves these deletions and how these happen,” M. Jaishankar, party in-charge for its Central Chennai district said.

He also asked the State Election Commission to publish the Voters Key List and make adequate arrangements for officials and police personnel engaged in election duty.

DMDK representatives R. Mohan Raj and P. Parathasarthy attended the meeting and said that the elections should be held with full police protection and in a transparent manner.

An official statement said, that SEC Palanisamy told the political parties that the voters list is prepared based on details available for the assembly constituencies and the local body elections would be conducted on that basis.

He also said the suggestions from various political parties would be reviewed and the election dates would be announced as stated by the Commission in the Supreme Court and sought co-operation from all parties.

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