The voting for the Tamil Nadu urban local body polls will take place on Saturday (February 19). As many as 57,778 candidates are in the fray for 12,607 posts of ward members in 648 urban local bodies. However, some numbers are expected to change due to the death of candidates in some wards.
The campaign for Tamil Nadu urban local body polls ended on Thursday. The main parties competing for the control of these urban local bodies are the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK and the opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). Many independent candidates, too, are in the fray.
The DMK, together with its allies, is fighting in most wards. The urban local body polls are being held in Tamil Nadu after a gap of 10 years.
The DMK is seeking votes broadly based on its theme of 'our' governance in local bodies as well, whereas the AIADMK is targeting the ruling party for not fulfilling its promises made last year.
When were the polls announced?
The Tamil Nadu State Election Commission announced the schedule for the polls last month. Among the local bodies where elections will be held are 21 municipal corporations, 138 municipalities and 490 town panchayats.
Counting of votes would commence on February 22 in 268 centres.
Other parties in the electoral battle
TTV Dhinakaran-led Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, Naam Tamizhar Katchi, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam and Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam are also in the fray.
On the day of the voting, nearly 1 lakh cops will be deployed in addition to other arrangements to ensure peaceful and fair elections, according to the Tamil Nadu police.
Various confidence building measures like flag marches have been conducted, the police said in an official release.
As many as 846 Quick Response Teams and 1,343 other police teams have been positioned at key locations. Checkposts have been established in 455 places and vehicle checks are being done 24 x 7 to check transport of illicit arms, liquor and to check movement of outsiders who do not belong to a particular jurisdiction.
Guidelines issued by the State Election Commission:
- The poll panel has directed that no notice - printed or handwritten - shall be pasted near the polling booth. This is according to the directions of the High Court.
- The candidates and their supporters have been advised not to engage in inappropriate activities that cause noise, shouting and confusion through the loudspeaker.
- The State Election Commission further said in the guidelines that candidates should not provide food, alcohol and drugs to voters on the day of the election.
- Those who come with disabled or visually impaired voters (as assistants) will be allowed inside the polling station, according to State Election Commission direction.
- Candidates have also been directed to not provide vehicle facilities to voters to go to polling stations.