Gujarat CM relieved as SC civic polls’ stay remains

Simply put, this will delay the civic polls which were due this October, to early next year at the earliest

Gandhinagar : Dreading civic polls in a Patidar agitation-hit Gujarat, the Anandiben Patel government heaved a sigh of relief when the Supreme Court extended the stay and fixed November 24 as the next date for hearing.

Simply put, this will delay the civic polls which were due this October, to early next year at the earliest.

With elections to the six  key municipal corporations of  Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar due between October and December this year and likely to be delayed  these civic bodies are now set to go under  the rule of the state government appointed administrators on the completion of their respective terms. The SC has stayed elections to these civic bodies following a petition challenging the present system of one-ward, four councilors. The State govt apparently seems to have used a simple stratagem to wriggle out of an unsavoury situation. It thrice  failed to  file a reply in  the SC which went ahead and fixed November 24, for next hearing by which time it would be too late to initiate the election process. While litigation in the apex court has delayed the elections to the six Municipal Corporations, it is the lack of preparations on the part of the state election commission which would be responsible for causing delay in elections to the municipalities of as many as 58 towns, 31 of the total 33 district panchayats and 230 of the total 247 taluka panchayats.

If elections are not announced within a week for the municipalities and district and taluka panchayat bodies, the government would be required to appoint administrators even for these local self government bodies because the election commission requires at least 21 days to complete the election process.

The terms of these elected local self government bodies end between November 1 and 7. The state election commission has yet to make preparations for setting up polling booths for as many as 5500 seats in these towns and villages.

According to state election commission officials, the decision regarding polling booths is taken on the basis of recommendation of the district collectors concerned. The ruling BJP is facing a curfew-like situation with its ministers and party leaders unable to venture out in towns and cities for any elections related work.

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