MK Stalin-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Thursday organised gram sabhas at several places in Tamil Nadu despite a state government order against holding such meetings.
The government had issued a circular on Thursday warning of legal action against individuals/political parties who convene gram sabha meetings as it violates the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act, 1994. The government claimed that on the pretext of holding gram sabha meetings, the political parties are conducting political rallies.
“Gram Sabha is an administrative setup under the Constitution. The powers to convene a gram sabha meetings are vested only with the panchayat President under section 3 (2-A) of the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act, 1994 . On his failure, the inspector of the panchayats or the district collector can convene the meeting,” the directive read.
Without naming the DMK, the state government said that gram sabha meetings are used by some for political gains.
DMK leader MK Stalin said no one, including the Chief Minister, can stop the party from conducting gram sabhas. Stalin said: “People are responding positively to gram sabhas by turning out in huge numbers. Out of fear, the Chief Minister has called for a ban on our grama sabha meetings. If they (AIADMK) have the guts, let them even conduct the meeting. As per the directive, the meetings can’t be conducted only under the name of ‘gram sabha’ right? We will, henceforth, conduct the meeting under the name of ‘Makkal Sabha’ (People’s Sabha),” Stalin said.