CHENNAI: The Election Commission on Friday set the pace for the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry by announcing a single day polling in the entire State and the Union Territory on May 16 and the results will be out on May 19. The long-drawn election schedule gives over 70 days for campaign to the political parties which are grappling till now to forge alliances for facing the elections.
Over 1.34 crore youth, and women voters, who have outnumbered men, are going to be the significant factors in this election.
This time, as of now, the State is expected to have a four-cornered contest among the alliances headed by ruling AIADMK, DMK, PWA and the NDA led by BJP. Apart from these, many smaller outfits - Pasumai Thamizhagam founded by anti-nuke activist SP Udayakumar, NTK headed by film director Seeman and Vazhamana Tamizhagam Katchi, a new political outfit, have decided to field candidates.
The filing of nomination in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry begins on April 22 and the last date for filing nominations will be April 29. Scrutiny of nomination will take place on April 30 and the last date for withdrawing nominations will be May 2.
Model Code of Conduct (MCC) came into force in the State with immediate effect. As per the instruction of the Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni, 702 flying squads and 702 check posts across the State had started functioning to check any violation. The CEO had instructed Collectors to remove all political wall posters, banners etc., in two days.
“Already we have received three complaints regarding MCC violation. They are minor complaints regarding issue of token for some schemes. We are attending to them”, the CEO said addressing a press conference at the Secretariat.
According to the model code, the government should not announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof; or announce any new scheme or sanction funds for the same. Ministers and other political executives should not lay foundation stones or attend inaugural functions of projects or schemes of any kind. Already, the CEO had directed the Secretaries of all government departments to draw a line on the GO register after the last entry so that nothing more can be added and send an attested copy of this within two hours of declaring the notification.
Monitoring of expenditure by political parties would start with immediate effect. In urban areas, political parties cannot put up posters, bills, cutouts, hoardings etc., in public and private properties in urban areas. In case of rural areas, parties can put up posters only after producing written permission from the owners of the properties.
On whether the disbursal of Rs.5,000 to the flood-affected families could go on, the CEO said the Revenue department had to get permission from the EC for this. Asked about the ceiling for money that can be carried by individual during this period, “if the money is for political purposes, it can be examined by the officials.”