Muncipal Elections In Chennai

The entire electioneering process is all set to being once again in 100 of the 155 ward councils of the Chennai Corporation. A split verdict of the Madras High Court regarding a petition to nullify the October elections and call for fresh elections, because of irregularities in the October elections, lead to the resignation of 98 ward councillors of the ruling DMK.

Rippon Building which houses the Chennai Corporation Courtsey

Now this time round, the election commission has a point to prove, namely that can hold free and fair elections, or at at least something which resembles free and fair elections. Then the news starved media in India wont be after the Election Commission. The political parties of course have the opposite objective. Last time they had media during the counting and the news starved media promptly reported their irregularities. Common perception of both the leading parties was changed by these elections. The electorate always knew both parties were filled with rowdies, but then no one expected it to be so bad, so this time around the political parties might want to prove they aren’t actually filled with rowdies like in Lalu Land. So on February 18th the voters in the 100 wards will elect their councillors, counting on the 20th and on 1st March, they will elect their new Mayor. And whether the elections are free and fair or not, the news channels will have enough fodder for a long time.

At the end of the process, Chennai will have a new mayor. I don’t really see the point of electing a Mayor. Anyway all credit for the development of Chennai, what ever little happens claimed by the party ruling from Fort St George. The Mayor is just a figure head, almost powerless. If the Mayor is of a different party from the one holding power in Fort St George, it results in conflict. News papers have enough news to fill pages. Since its TN politics, it usually will result in dramatic events like mid-night arrests, which of course are a delight for 24 hour news channels. But at the end of the day is it worth it? Cant we just have a Mayor appointed by those wielding power in Fort St George?

Chennai anyway will have development, it’s the state capital and in TN there isn’t a strong rural-urban divide. Development in Chennai doesn’t really result in the loss of votes in South TN. Development at the cost of South TN is a problem, besides along with Chennai cities like Tiruchy and Madurai have to be developed, considering Madurai is a regional power centre in the state, it will be developed largely because it is the nucleus of activity in south TN. These Tier II cities in TN need Corporations, the state leadership sitting in Chennai cannot develop these regions. Chennai though is a different case; the state leadership can develop the city. They might as well appoint a mayor to deal with the maintenance of the city. This will spare the city of another round of elections.

The entire mayoral elections, I presume is being held because Mu Ka Stalin holds the Local Administration Portfolio.

3 Comments so far

  1. SGS (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 10:24 pm

    Nothing about the election .. which for me makes no sense if the same people, same police, same election team to handle it ..

    Anyway, about the tier II / III cities and its development, Certain things in deed are happening already in the IT front ….




  2. suppaman (unregistered) on February 7th, 2007 @ 5:24 pm

    In as much as the councillors post are minting money like anything, good and fair elections are not all possible. The present Govt. is not even ready to transferthe election commissioner and the relevent Officers you can expect the same kind of election as October 2006 in some other way.

  3. T.Rajapandian (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 11:00 am

    Chennai certainly will have development.But only that which will help line the pockets of its rulers.
    Not one govt. has cared to find a permanent solution to the chronic water shortage in the city.Merely adding more flyovers and opening more IT parks is not a solution to the city’s woes.The city’s public transportation is on the brink of collapse,drainage and sewerage systems are non existent.Addressing these issues would require leaders with vision and finding them would be like searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack.

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