BHOPAL: Panchayat elections may be held in the state before the urban bodies’ polls. The publication of the voters’ list has put the government in a tricky situation because, after the publication of the final voters’ list, elections cannot be put off for a long time.
As a result of publication of the voters’ list, the State Election Commission is pressuring the government to hold the polls. Despite the publication of the list, the BJP has sent a volley of complaints to the State Election Commission. Apart from that, several complaints have been made about the urban bodies’ elections so that the polls may be put off for the time being.
The BJP is facing many problems about the urban bodies’ elections. Many senior politicians of the party will be out of Madhya Pradesh campaigning for the Assembly elections in five states.
Besides Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Prahlad Patel and state minister Narottam Mishra, Vishwas Sarang and Arvind Bhadoria, state organisational general secretary Suhas Bhagat will be busy with the Assembly elections in West Bengal and Assam.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been made the star campaigner for the West Bengal polls. So, he has to go to Bengal to campaign for the party. Other lawmakers and leaders of the party may be deployed for campaigning in Bengal, too. For that reason, it may be a problem for the party to arrange for leaders to campaign for the urban bodies’ polls.
State Election Commissioner BP Singh has said he is ready to conduct the urban bodies’ polls. The political parties, however, want that the panchayat elections be held before the urban bodies’ polls. According to Singh, if the preparations for the panchayat elections are made, the dates will be declared in a month. If that does not happen, the dates for the urban bodies’ elections will be declared, he has said, adding that the dates for one of the two elections will be declared in a month.
BJP makes Bhanot’s demand an issue
Former finance minister Tarun Bhanot raised a demand in the House that the local bodies’ elections should not be conducted through VVPAT. Now, the BJP is supporting Bhanot’s demand that the elections may be put off on the pretext of doing away with the VVPAT system. The BJP leaders are reportedly saying that the Congress’s demand for conducting the local polls without VVPAT and EVMs is justified. According to minister for cooperatives Arvind Bhadoria, the State Election Commission should look into Bhanod’s demand.
Water scarcity, price hike could cause BJP trouble
The government is facing problems because of certain issues, besides the absence of senior leaders of the party from the state. There is water scarcity in May and June in the urban areas. Apart from that, the hike in the prices of petroleum products and cooking gas has created difficulties for the BJP. The power tariff may be hiked in April. Other than that, there may be undeclared power cuts because of the poor financial health of the electricity department. So, the government wants to keep away from facing the people in the urban bodies’ elections.