The Election commission has planned to conduct the Tamil Nadu urban local body elections on February 19. Major political parties, including the incumbent DMK, the opposition AIADMK, and the BJP, Congress, NTK, PMK, MNM, and AMMK. They have issued lists of candidates for 21 corporations, 138 municipalities, and 490 town panchayats. There is a total of 12,838 wards. The by-election will be held on February 19 and the result date is February 22.
The reason behind the delay of urban local body elections in Tamil Nadu
In 2011, the AIADMK secured a majority in rural and urban local body elections. Although the officials’ terms ended in 2016, elections for local bodies did not occur due to many legal difficulties. Various parties had filed petitions over multiple issues, including law and order issues insufficient reservation for Scheduled Tribes. And also there were allegations that the election commission declared the polls in a rush without allowing Opposition parties the time to prepare.
In 2019, officials conducted the rural local government election after an eight-year hiatus. The polls for nine newly constituted districts were held in two rounds in October 2021.
The Madras High Court granted the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission (TNSEC) permission to conduct the urban local body elections on January 28, 2022. It denied a request to prevent the TNSEC from announcing the election date due to the third wave of Covid-19. The justices ruled that the state administration and the TNSEC could hold the elections under the Covid procedures and instructions given by the national government. The High Court also stated that it would closely supervise the election’s behaviour.
Urban Local Body Elections in Tamil Nadu Date and Rules
The nomination procedure for the elections began on January 28, and candidates have until February 4 to register their paperwork. The forms will be scrutinised on February 5. The deadline for withdrawal is February 7. Voting will take place in single-phase on February 19 from 7 am to 5 pm, with voting for Corona patients taking place from 5 pm to 6 pm. The ballots will be counted on February 22, and the results are scheduled to be announced on the same day. The voting process will be concluded by February 24, and the newly elected officials will take charge on March 2.
Mayor and Deputy Mayor Selection
On March 4, the SEC will hold indirect elections for mayor and deputy mayor in corporations and chairman and vice-chairman in municipalities and town panchayats. A total of 31,029 voting places have been set up across the state. That includes 5,794 in Chennai alone, spread over 15 zones. Officials will use CCTV cameras to monitor polling in all crucial places.
Security strengthened by Officials
To guarantee a peaceful election and avoid unexpected occurrences, up to 80,000 police officers will be deployed. A total of 1.3 lakh cops (four officers each booth) would be on duty throughout the election.
GCC’s duty on election
The Chennai Corporation has worked hard to ensure that the elections go off without a problem. The civic body has dispatched at least 45 flying squads to maintain surveillance and execute the Model Code of Conduct. Intensive inspections are being conducted around the city to prevent cars carrying large sums of cash or luxury products from leaving without the necessary documentation or bills.
Campaign rules for this urban local body election
While speaking to the media, Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi revealed a series of rules that candidates must observe ahead of the elections. According to TNSEC rules, a candidate standing for ward-member in Chennai can spend ₹90,000.
Campaign posters should not be pasted on private or public walls by political parties or individual candidates. Further, the candidates must not act in any way that may cause discord among individuals of various castes, religions, or linguistic groups.
Candidates are permitted to campaign from 6 am to 10 pm. But they are not allowed to campaign near houses of worship. They are also advised to follow the government’s Covid-19 recommendations.
Corporation list of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu has 21 corporations, including Chennai, Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Dindigul, Erode, Nagercoil, Kancheepuram, Karur, Hosur, Madurai, Salem, Kumbakonam, Avadi, Tiruchirapalli, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Vellore, Sivakasi, Thanjavur, and Tambaram.
The offices of the Mayor of Chennai and Tambaram (Chengalpattu district) corporations have been designated for Scheduled Caste women. Whereas Avadi (Tiruvallur district) corporation has been selected for Scheduled Caste males (general).
Reserved the mayor position for women in nine other corporations: Cuddalore, Dindigul, Vellore, Karur, Sivakasi, Kancheepuram, Madurai, Coimbatore, and Erode (general).
The state government has also reserved the chairman for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe in 79 municipalities throughout the state. This contains ten municipalities for SC (general), ten municipalities for SC (women), and 58 municipalities for women (general). STs (women) for the municipality of Nalliyam in the Nilgiris district.
Tamil Nadu Urban Local Body Elections Participating Parties and Alliances
The ruling DMK and its allies won a landslide win in rural local body elections in nine districts last year. DMK is hoping for a repeat performance in the next polls. The Congress, VCK, CPI, CPI(M), and MDMK are among the DMK’s partners.
Despite differences in opinion among alliance partners on seat allotment, the DMK-led secular progressive alliance, which won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the 2021 Assembly elections, will campaign together.
The Opposition AIADMK, which has been contesting elections in collaboration with the BJP, has split its alliance this time. Both were as a part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) since 2019.
BJP president K Annamalai stated that the party will face the election alone to increase its ground-level reach and bring the BJP to every family. He did, however, state that the AIADMK will remain a part of the NDA. And would run in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections alongside it.
Similarly, senior politician S Ramadoss’ Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), which teamed up with the AIADMK for the state Assembly elections, would run alone. It has also run in the rural local government elections in 2021 on its own.
The Captain Vijayakant-led Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), which ran in the 2021 Assembly elections in coalition with TTV Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazagam (AMMK), will run alone this time.
Like actor Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) and Seeman’s Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK), other participants have chosen to face it alone.