Puducherry to hold local body polls after 10 years following SC order

The Union Territory of Puducherry will be conducting local body polls after a gap of 10 years. The civic elections were held last in 2006 which was after a gap of 38 years and following an order from the Madras High Court. The tenure of that civic body, elections for which were held for electing 1138 representatives including 33% women and 16% Dalits, came to a close in 2011.

The Puducherry state election commission has now completed the delimitation exercise of the wards in the local bodies and has commenced preparations to hold the polls following an order from the Supreme Court of India.

The Supreme Court in its order dated March 5, 2021, directed the Puducherry government and the commission to complete the delimitation exercise within two months from the date of the order. It also directed the commission and the UT government to hold elections to the local bodies four months after the delimitation exercise is completed.

The commission published ward-wise draft electoral rolls of the municipalities and commune panchayats on Monday and has proposed to publish the final electoral roll for the panchayat elections on June 28.

Puducherry election commissioner, Roy P Thomas told reporters, “The voters are requested to approach the concerned electoral officers for addition or deletion of their names from the electoral rolls and these rolls are presently prepared with the qualifying date as of January 1, 2021.”

The commission has already issued a notification on the completion of the delimitation exercise and on the appointment of district electoral officers, regional electoral officers, returning officers, and assistant returning officers.

The election commission proposes to hold meetings with representatives of national political parties – both registered and recognized – as well as meeting with representatives of regional political parties (both registered and unrecognized).

Thomas told reporters: “These meetings are to be held to elicit the views of the representatives of these political parties and their suggestions to hold the civic body polls in a free and fair manner.”

The commission earlier convened a meeting of officials on the Covid-19 protocols to be followed while conducting the elections.