SEC seeks time to hold civic polls in TN, Minister says govt ready to conduct elections

The Tamil Nadu State Election Commission on Wednesday sought from the Supreme Court time till October 31 to hold local body elections and informed the court that it would issue notifications for that by last week of October. 

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, after hearing the Tamil Nadu poll panel’s submission, disposed of the plea seeking direction to conduct local elections in the state.

Meanwhile in the State Assembly, Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani on Wednesday said the government is ready to hold local body elections.

He was replying to Leader of Opposition M K Stalin who cited Union Minister for Rural Development Narendra Singh Thomar’s statement in Parliament recently that the local body funds for Tamilnadu cannot be released as the civic polls have not been conducted in the State.

The Minister said the elections will be held since the delimitation of wards had been completed after a gap of 22 years. “A total of 1,19,290 wards have been delimited. We will certainly be ready to conduct the elections,” Velumani further said.

“Amma’s (late chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s) government is for sure ready to hold civic polls,” he asserted. On Stalin quoting Union Panchayati Raj Minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s statement in the Lok Sabha that grant for local bodies was not released to Tamil Nadu as the polls had not been held, Velumani said Tamil Nadu received Rs 8,531 crore as grant (for the period between 2015-19) out of about Rs 12,312 crore.

Stalin asked the government to conduct the local body polls at the earliest. Velumani said an amount of Rs 12,312 crore should be received by the State during the period of 2015 to 2019.