BHOPAL: The State Election Commission said during an all-party political meeting held on Tuesday that elections for local bodies would be announced in the month of March, according to the directions of the high court. This announcement has removed the ambiguity on the dates of the local body elections. If they are announced in the month of March, the expected dates for elections would be in the month of April.
The meeting of representatives from all political parties was held at the office of the State Election Commission. Representatives of all parties agreed to hold elections to the panchayats first. If the tri-layered panchayat elections are not held now, the dates could clash with the Board examinations and, later, the rainy season. The MP Board examinations for Classes X and XII will be held between April 30 and May 18 and the CBSE examinations from May 4 to June 12.
State Election Commissioner Basant Pratap Singh said that several initiatives related to the panchayat elections were pending with the state government. If only all these pending issues were cleared with the government in the coming 15-20 days could the Election Commission proceed with the panchayat elections. Or else, elections to the urban bodies would be held first, he added.
The Congress and other non-BJP parties once again raised the issue of conducting elections with ballot papers and not EVMs. However, the election commissioner refused to entertain the idea saying that a gazette notification had been issued in this matter and nothing could be done now.