Mumbai: Hours after the Supreme Court declined to intervene in the matter relating to the by-elections to the local bodies announced by the State Election Commission, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has asked the Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte to take necessary steps after speaking to the SEC. The apex court gave its ruling on the state government’s petition with an appeal to defer the by elections to 5 Zilla Parishads and 33 Panchayat Samitis by six months.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said, ‘’ Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has directed the Chief Secretary to take due steps after discussing it with the SEC.’’
This is important as the SEC has announced voting for by-elections on July 19 and results on July 20 in 5 ZPs and 33 PS.
After cabinet’s unanimous decision for postponement of by elections amid threat of Delta Plus Variant and possible third wave of Covid-19 pandemic, Kunte had sent a letter to SEC but the latter refused to stay or revise the poll schedule.
The government’s move seeking postponement is against the backdrop of cancellation of 27% political reservation to the Other Backward Classes in the local bodies.
The cabinet was unanimous that in the present circumstances elections should not be held especially when the monsoon session of the state legislature has been curtailed and restrictions have been imposed on the annual Pandharpur Wari because of increasing pandemic cases. Besides, ministers pointed out that due to strict restrictions none of the political party leaders would be able to hold poll rallies.
Besides, the government brought to the notice of the apex court that the State Election Commission did not consult the Chief Secretary before announcing the poll schedule.