The Election Commission of Puducherry has released a revised notification to conduct the civic polls in three phases between November 2 and 13. Election Commissioner of the Union Territory Roy P Thomas said on Friday that the revised poll schedule for elections to five municipalities and 10 commune panchayats is in compliance with the order of the Madras High Court issued on October 5. The first phase would be held for the Puducherry and Oulgaret Municipalities on November 2. For this, the notification would be issued on October 11 when filing of nominations would begin. The last day to file nominations is October 18 while scrutiny of nominations is slated for October 20 and the last day for withdrawal of nominations is October 22.
The second phase for the five commune panchayats (all in Puducherry) at Ariyankuppam, Bahoor, Mannadipet, Nettapakkam and Villianoor would be held on November 7 and the statutory notification would be issued on October 15 when the filing of nominations would also begin. The last date to file nominations is October 22 while scrutiny of papers is slated for October 25; and the last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 27. The third phase would be held on November 13 for the municipalities in Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam and for the five commune panchayats of Kottuchery, Nedungadu, Neravy, Tirumalairayanpattinam and Tirunallar (all in Karaikal region). The statutory notification would be issued on October 22 when filing of nominations would also begin. The last date to file nominations is October 29 while scrutiny of papers is slated for October 30. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is November 2.
The polling would take place from 7 AM to 6 PM with last one hour (5 PM to 6 PM) being earmarked for the Covid-stricken patients and those with symptoms of the pandemic. He said the model code of conduct comes into force with immediate effect from today.
Counting of votes polled in the three phases would be done on November 17. The polls were scheduled between October 21 and 28. But, writ petitions were filed in the High Court by J Prakashkumar, an Independent legislator from Muthialpet segment here, and also by Periannan of neighbouring Karuvadikuppam highlighting anomalies in finalising of seats and wards for the Backward Classes and the Scheduled Tribes.
On October 5, the court issued directions to the Election Commission to rectify the anomalies within five days and issue a fresh notification to hold the polls. As per the directive, the Commission has now issued it. Reacting to the revised notification today, Speaker of the territorial Assembly R Selvam convened an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss what he called as confusion and muddle the Commission is causing in the conduct of the civic polls. A press release from office of the Speaker said there was a representation by all legislators of the territorial Assembly that the Commission was causing confusion and muddle in conducting the polls without reserving wards or offices for Backward classes in civic bodies. The release said the emergency meeting would be attended by all legislators, Ministers, Chief Secretary and Secretaries to Local Administration Department and Department of Law.
The release said the legislators have brought to the Selvam’s notice that there should be representation through reservation of wards and seats in municipal bodies for the Backward Classes, only after which the Commission should hold the polls. The release said the legislators cited the convention and statutory facility envisaged in the municipal laws all these years that the BCs should get reservation in wards and offices in civic bodies. The meeting with the legislators and officers would bring to the attention of the Election Commission to take this into consideration and then hold the polls.
With inputs from News