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[12/27, 15:50] Sekarreporter 1: Plea in Madras HC to defer declaration of rural local body election results: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/plea-in-madras-hc-to-defer-declaration-of-rural-local-body-election-results/article30411185.ece [12/27, 15:50] Sekarreporter 1: Litigant claims it may have a bearing on voter behaviour in urban civic bodies A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court on Thursday to restrain Tamil Nadu State Election Commission (TNSEC) from declaring the results of ongoing elections to rural local bodies in the State until it conducts polls for urban civic bodies too. The litigant claimed that results of rural local bodies might end up influencing voter behaviour in urban civic bodies and thereby disturb a level playing field. [12/27, 15:50] Sekarreporter 1: The case filed by Senthil Arumugam of NGO Satta Panchayat Iyakkam would be listed for admission before a Christmas vacation Bench of Justices S. Vaidyanathan and P.T. Asha on Monday. In his affidavit, the petitioner claimed that never in the history of local body polls in the State, the elections had been conducted separately for rural and urban local bodies. He pointed out that simultaneous elections were held in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011. “Conducting elections for rural and urban local bodies separately in two parts is against the level playing field which is mandatory in a democracy. Local body election is a single entity. Announcement of one phase of election results will definitely affect the other local bodies where election has to be conducted later. It will prejudice the minds of the people. If results are declared in piecemeal, it will affect ensuing elections in urban local bodies,” the affidavit read. The petitioner claimed to have made a representation to TNSEC on December 3 itself with a request to conduct simultaneous elections across the State for both rural as well as urban local bodies. In reply, the commission on December 14 informed him that polls for urban local bodies would be notified soon. Unsatisfied with the reply, he urged the High Court to restrain the commission from declaring the rural local body election results on January 2. Mr. Arumugam also pointed out that the TNSEC was now conducting even the rural local body polls only in 27 districts in the State and had deferred them in the other nine newly constituted districts until the completion of delimitation exercise. Therefore, it was essential that the results of one part of the local body elections do not get declared before the conduct of elections to all local bodies in both rural and urban pockets across the State, the litigant said. In the meantime, R.S. Bharathi, Organising Secretary of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, has also filed a writ petition in the High Court seeking a direction to TNSEC to record the entire counting process using closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras. He also wanted sufficient security to be provided for the ballot boxes until the votes were counted besides permitting the contestants or their representatives to remain present in places where the boxes were stored.