Chennai: The long-awaited elections to rural local bodies in Tamil Nadu will be held in two phases on December 27 and 30, the State Election Commission announced on Monday.
The model code of conduct comes into force immediately in local bodies that go to elections and the poll notification will be issued on December 6, it said. The nominations can be filed from December 6 to December 13 and the scrutiny will be taken up on December 16. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is December 18. The counting of votes will be taken up on January 2.
The poll panel said elections to urban local bodies will be announced separately.
DMK, which has approached the Supreme Court over the civic polls said it was amusing that polls have been announced only for rural civic bodies.
"As regards Tamil Nadu, be it Lok Sabha, Assembly or local bodies, elections have been held in a single phase. However, now, they have announced polls for rural civic bodies alone...this is amusing," DMK chief M K Stalin told reporters at Puducherry.
Days ago, Stalin had accused the ruling AIADMK of "creating confusions" on matters connected to civic elections. Legal experts will be consulted on the announcement and a decision will be taken, he said.
Tamil Nadu State Election Commissioner R Palaniswamy said direct elections will be held to 1,18,974 posts in rural local bodies including 12,524 village panchayat presidents and 99,324 village panchayat ward members, 655 district panchayat ward members and 6,471 panchayat union ward members.
Barring polls to village panchayat level posts, elections to posts of ward members of district panchayats and panchayat unions will be party based, he said.
A total of 3.31 crore voters are eligible to vote in rural civic polls of which 1.67 crore are women, 1.64 crore men and 2,277 are third genders.
Voting will be held in as many as 31,698 polling stations in the first phase and 32,092 booths on December 30.
For all rural civic bodies covered under the Melpuram panchayat union in Kanyakumari district, EVMs will be used for polling in 114 polling stations, Palaniswamy said, adding this was a pilot project of the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission.
About 2,33,000 ballot boxes will be used for polling in the rest of polling stations and an IAS officer will be deployed as observer in each of the districts, he said.
Indirect elections will be held on January 11 for posts of president and vice president in district panchayats, panchayat unions and for the posts of vice president of village panchayats.
Last week, the DMK had moved the Supreme Court, seeking a direction to authorities to complete processes, including delimitation ahead of notifying civic polls.
Civic polls in Tamil Nadu were originally slated to be held in October 2016 and the matter later went to court.
Special officers were appointed by the state government to run civic bodies since then.