By Express News Service

NEW DELHI/CHENNAI: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to complete the polls to urban local bodies within four months i.e. by January 2022. This means, even before the dust settles on the rural local body elections in nine districts, the State will witness another political bout.

When senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the SEC, sought seven months to complete the elections, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said, “Mr Rohatgi, even though the reasons are very silly, we want to give some time.”

A bench, comprising CJI Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, issued the direction on a plea filed by the SEC seeking more time to conduct the urban local body polls. Rohatgi said more time is needed due to the creation of six new corporations and 28 municipalities, and sought till the end of April 2022. At this, the bench said, “Four months. Final.”

Earlier, senior ministers Durai Murugan and KN Nehru said the elections to urban local bodies would be held by December. These grassroot-level elections will be a litmus test for both the ruling DMK and the principal opposition AIADMK. Since local bodies are closer to people than the State and Central governments, the party that bags most local bodies is set to have an upper hand in future elections.

SEC sought extra time to complete rural body poll

The Supreme Court had on June 22 directed the SEC to conclude the entire election process for rural local bodies in nine districts by September 15, including publication/notification of election schedule and declaring the result of the elections.

However, the SEC had sought 35 days more to complete the election process, and now, the polls are scheduled to be held on October 6 and 9. The entire election process will be over by October 20.

Includes battle for coveted mayor postsUrban local bodies contain the mayor posts for city corporations, including Chennai, which the ruling DMK can’t afford to lose. The last time these elections were held in the State was in 2011. The representatives’ term ended in 2016