Updated on: Friday, December 17, 2021, 02:52 PM IST

FPJ Exclusive: OBC seats to be de-reserved, to become open seats; elections to be held on January 18 next year


Mumbai: In a twist to the ongoing legal battle for the OBC quota in local bodies, a day after the Apex Court directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to hold elections in 106 nagar panchayats, Bhandara and Gondia zilla parishads and panchayat samitis under their jurisdiction, the polling will take place as per schedule on December 21. But the counting of votes will take place on January 19, 2022 instead of December 22, 2021.

The SEC released a fresh notification on Friday, wherein OBC seats in these local bodies will be de-reserved, as they will become open/general seats of which 50% will be reserved for women. The defunct citizens of local bodies will now go to the polls on January 18, 2022 to fill the seats of the backward class by making them unreserved.

SEC sources told the Free Press Journal earlier on Thursday, '‘The polling will take place for 82 seats in Bhandara and Gondia zilla parishads, 165 seats of 15 panchayat samitis under their jurisdiction and 1458 seats in 106 nagar panchayats on December 21. There was no stay on that. Even though the Supreme Court has given SEC a week’s time, a notification will be issued on Friday for the poll schedule for OBC seats which will now be de-reserved in these local bodies. As per the various legislations, including the Gram Panchayat Act, the Zilla Parishad Act and the Municipal Corporation Act and Articles 243 (A) and 243 (ZA), SEC enjoys powers to reserve 50% seats for women.’’

The collectors will need seven days for nominations, one day for scrutiny, one day for withdrawal of nominations and one day for allotment of symbol.

In Bhandara and Gondia, the district courts have powers to decide appeals with regard to nominations. The polling will be held in mid-January.

Meanwhile, the SEC is yet to receive the state government’s letter on the resolution passed by the cabinet on Wednesday to defer the local body elections until empirical data of OBC is collected for the purpose of quota. The cabinet has pressed for the postponement of upcoming elections to the municipal corporations, including BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, municipalities, zilla parishads, panchayat samitis and nagar panchayats for at least three months.


However, SEC sources said it will proceed as per the Supreme Court order. '‘The apex court has said that Wednesday’s order will be applicable to the ensuing local and civic body polls in Maharashtra,’’ sources said.


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Published on: Friday, December 17, 2021, 02:52 PM IST