Indian politics: AIADMK announces list of candidates for Tamil Nadu local polls!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
As it happened in the state assembly poll held a few months back, the ruling AIADMK has already announced, well ahead of other parties including the main opposition DMK, the list of candidates for local polls in Tamil Nadu to be held on 17 and 19 October. And the ruling party seems to be readily waiting for the announcement of poll dates by the election commission to release the list. The results would be declared on 21 October.
The opposition party DMK also has released its first list of candidates for a few corporations, leaving a few for its allies like Congress party and Muslim League. Sources say, the mayoral posts and chairmen of municipalities would be decided later. People’s Front led by Vaiko would contest the polls as one block. The details about the coalition are still awaited. BJP, having burnt its fingers in the assembly poll hoping to form the “first ever” saffron government had ended in a draw as the party failed to win even a seat in the assembly for the first time in years. .
According to the notification issued by the Election Commission on Sunday, local body elections will be held in two phases on 17 and 19 October. The polls will fill up over 1.3 lakh posts in 12 rural and urban municipalities across Tamil Nadu. Chennai and Dindigul corporations will go to poll in the second phase on 19 October, while 10 other local bodies will elect their representatives in the first phase on 17 October. Counting of votes will be done on 21 October.
According to the report, submission of nominations will be open from 26 September while the last date of submission will be 3 October. The last date for withdrawal of candidature will be 6 October. Indirect elections to the posts of mayors, municipality chairpersons and other local body chiefs and deputy chiefs will be held on 2 November.
The reservation for women in this year’s civic body poll, however, has been increased to 50 percent, after a Bill was passed in the Tamil Nadu Assembly amending municipal and panchayat laws to increase the percentage of reservation for women from 33 to 50. The posts of mayors, deputy mayors and other local body chiefs will be filled by indirect elections after the Tamil Nadu Municipal Corporation Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016 was passed amid opposition from DMK and Congress. While the DMK questioned the government’s intention behind the amendment, Congress termed it as an attempt to “stifle the voice of democracy.”
Just hours after the notice of election for the local body was released, AIADMK General Secretary CM J. Jayalalithaa released the list of candidates for the post of councillor in all the 12 municipalities in Tamil Nadu.
Announcing the list of candidates, AIADMK General Secretary and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa retained some old names, while she chose field the party heavyweights from Chennai, to woo the voters. Only three of the incumbent mayors, out of 12, are given a second run at the election. Sitting mayors from Salem (S Soundappan), Tiruchy (MSR Jaya) and Thanjavur ( Savithri Gopal) will run on party tickets again, while the deputy mayor of Salem, M Natesan also got a ticket this time again.
In Chennai, sitting Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy has been dropped of the list this time, however, leaders like N Balaganga (from ward No. 78) and JCD Prabhakar, (from ward No. 80) are given a chance and are being looked upon as the front-runners for mayorship of the capital of the state. Apart from this, around 25 sitting councilors have been re-nominated in the state capital.
AIADMK also rewarded former Mayor Charubala Thondaiman, who had recently switched alliance from Tamil Maanila Congress to AIADMK, with a party ticket from ward No. 44 in Thanjavur.
Meanwhile, a PIL has been filed in the Madras High Court challenging the indirect election of mayors, while the court has sought a response from the state government and posted the PIL to 25 October next for further hearing,
While AIAIDMK is ready with the list of its candiates for the local polls, other parties are still in the selection proceses and would soon release their own lists.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa was admitted to a private hospital in Chennai in the wee hours on Friday and her condition is “stable”, according to the hospital. Jayalalithaa complained of “fever and dehydration” and was admitted in Apollo hospitals, in the early hours on Friday. “The chief minister of Tamil Nadu was admitted to Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, with fever and dehydration,” said Subbiah Viswanathan, chief operating officer of the hospital, in a release circulated to the media. A release from the hospital said that the 68-year-old AIADMK chief’s condition is “stable”, adding she is “under observation”.
The Apollo hospital is being surrounded by AIADMK party workers, refusing to leave until their leader is declared safe and she returns home from the hospital.
Unlike the assembly poll, the local polls would not attract big leaders to campaign for the candidates and only party’s district units are supposed to take care of it.