Tamil Nadu State Election Commission
Tamil Nadu State Election Commission. Image Source: IANS News

Chennai, Sep 22 : The Tamil Nadu State Election Commission has directed the Collectors of the nine districts where rural local body elections are to be held, to take stringent action to curb "auction" of the posts of panchayat presidents.

Auctioning of posts of village panchayat presidents and panchayat union ward councilors has been reported in the state in the past couple of days.

The rural local body polls are to take place on October 6 and October 9 and in certain villages of these districts, there has been a move to have 'consensus' candidates and local people had reported and complained that money was changing hands.

Village elders had actively participated in the 'auctioning' for the post of the president of Ulagalapadi village panchayat in Sankarapuram panchayat union in Kallakurichi district. A similar phenomenon was also witnessed in Ponnankuppam village panchayat in Gingee panchayat union of Villupuram district.

Two councillor posts were also subject to 'auction' in two panchayat union wards in Melamalaiyanur in Villupuram.

Political parties have opposed the practice and called upon the SEC and the respective district administrations to take stern action.

Ruling DMK leader R.S. Bharathi said that this has to be curtailed and that if noticed, district administrators should take stern action against those abetting moves to subvert the democratic process.

BJP leader H. Raja said that strong action must be taken by the State Election Commission to bring an end to such moves.

Talking to IANS, retired professor G. Palanithurai said: "If someone is getting elected through consensus, there should be fixed criteria and it should be based on morals and ethics and not money. The Election Commission has enormous powers and they should act as people are complaining from villages themselves. No one should be allowed to subvert the democratic process."

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