Just hours after the notice of election for the local body was released, AIADMK General Secretary released the list of candidates for the post of councillor in all the 12 municipalities in Tamil Nadu, The Hindu reported.
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, as reported in The Times of India. 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.
"Indirect elections to the posts of mayors, municipality chairpersons and other local body chiefs and deputy chiefs will be held on 2 November," reported The Times of India.
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. According to The New Indian Express, only three of the incumbent mayors, out of 12, are given a second run at the election. Siting 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, as reported in The New Indian Express. Apart from this, around 25 sitting councillors have been re-nominated in the state capital, according to The Hindu.
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.
According to the report in The Times of India, 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.
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, according to The Hindu. In another first, 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," according to The Indian Express.
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, according to a report in The Indian Express.