Tamil Nadu Civic polls: Excitement in rural pockets before Friday’s vote
Elections for 515 district panchayat wards, 5090 Union Block Panchayat wards, 9624 village panchayat president posts and 76,746 village panchayat wards are being held now and those for City Corporations, Municipalities and Town Panchayats will be held later.Updated: Dec 26, 2019, 09:09 IST
The most anticipated civic election in Tamil Nadu’ recent history is to be held in two phases on Friday and Monday after a gap of eight years. The election for the rural local body seats is being hotly contested by the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) led coalition and the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) led alliance as a precursor to 2021 state assembly elections.
A total of 91,975 local body seats in the state’s 27 districts will be up for grabs leaving the nine newly bifurcated districts of Tenkasi, Tirunelveli, Villupuram, Kallakurichi, Vellore, Ranipet, Thirupatthur, Kanchipuram and Chengalpattu to vote later next year as per Supreme Court’s instructions.
Elections for 515 district panchayat wards, 5090 Union Block Panchayat wards, 9624 village panchayat president posts and 76,746 village panchayat wards are being held now and those for City Corporations, Municipalities and Town Panchayats will be held later.
200 district panchayat wards, 2456 Union Block Panchayat wards, 4700 village panchayat president positions, and 37830 village panchayat wards will poll on Friday and the remaining on Monday.
The campaign for the Friday polls came to an end on Wednesday evening. Senior leaders from AIADMK, BJP, DMK, Congress, CPI, CPI (M) and their respective allies actively campaigned for the first phase.
AIADMK coordinators, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam asked the voters last Friday for an opportunity to rule the local bodies.
“AIADMK is giving the best governance in the local bodies. TN’s rural infrastructure was developed only in the AIADMK regime. We have de-silted thousands of water resources easing its access even in times of drought. So, we request the people to avoid the evil forces in the field of local body elections,” the joint statement of EPS and OPS said.
BJP, Dr Ramadoss’s Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), actor Vijayakanth’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), and former union minister GK Vaasan’s Tamil Maanila Congress – Moopanar TMC(M) are in the AIADMK alliance.
According to insiders, AIADMK has given a huge share of the seats to the PMK which has a rich presence in the northern parts of TN.
“About 15% of the local body seats have been given to the PMK. We have also allocated a reasonable number of seats to BJP, DMDK, and TMC (M),” said an AIADMK MLA and top party office-bearer.
DMK president Stalin said this civic poll is a “trailer” for the 2021 state legislative assembly elections.
“AIADMK has ruined the local administration by avoiding elections since 2016. The AIADMK leaders are afraid to meet people as their government is incapable of fulfilling their needs. As this local body elections are the trailer for the 2021 state legislative assembly elections, I appeal to people to support the candidates of the secular Democratic Progressive Alliance led by DMK,” Stalin said in a video.
Congress, CPI, CPI(M), Vaiko’s MDMK, VCK, Kongu Nadu Makkal Desiya Katchi, Indhiya Jananayaga Katchi of SRM chancellor TR Pachamuthu, Indian Union Muslim League and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) are with the DMK.
According to analysts, the long-pending civic polls have given a ray of hope to the grass-root level workers who get to contest for public posts after eight years.
“Without the local body positions, the grass-root level workers of all the parties have felt a sort of gloom. However, this election has made them much enthusiastic. Also, the party leaderships are seeing the civic poll as very crucial since the state legislative assembly elections are in 2021,” said S Ramesh, a political analyst and advocate.