State without local bodies
It was reported that the 15th Finance Commission might recommend giving more financial freedom and powers to panchayats and urban local bodies, but in Tamil Nadu there are no local bodies because elections to them have not been held for the last 30 months. The elections were supposed to have taken place in October 2016, but were stopped by the Madras High Court after the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam questioned the manner in which the process was carried out. Immediately after that, the state government began work on delimitation of wards based on the 2011 Census. Because of such procedural delays, Tamil Nadu has been functioning without its 200 ward councillors and 12,524 panchayat leaders.
Reward for a "selfless" act
The young man who jumped on stage at a Digvijaya Singh rally and started praising the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre for the surgical strike against Pakistan has been rewarded (above) for his peskiness. The youth, identified as Amit Mali, was felicitated Wednesday in the presence of Bharatiya Janata Party National Vice-President Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and Berasia MLA Vishnu Khatri. While the cameras clicked away, Mali sheepishly accepted the bouquet of flowers handed to him by Sahasrabuddhe, who lauded him for his "selfless act" despite being an "ordinary citizen and not a party member".
No discernible trend
With the end of the third phase on Tuesday, polling is complete on a majority of the 543 Lok Sabha seats. Political parties are busy conducting their own assessments or seeking reports from exit poll agencies as also the betting market about the possible outcome. Leaders in the two big parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, were nervous at the end of phase three because they could not discern any significant trend. The mixed picture has meant these parties are reaching out to party workers to reassess their strategies for the remaining three phases. Some of the most crucial states in the Hindi heartland are still to vote. These include Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, apart from a majority of the seats in Uttar Pradesh, which would play a big role in determining the shape of the next government.