The MVA government on Wednesday failed to move an application in the Supreme Court with a plea to stay the elections to the local bodies scheduled for December 21 because of severe differences with the bureaucracy.
The government was determined to move the application after the SC granted a stay on the ordinance providing a 27 per cent quota for OBCs in the local bodies.
Elections are to be held in 105 nagar panchayats, Bhandara and Gondia zilla parishads and panchayat samitis in their jurisdiction and in 4,554 gram panchayats. The State Election Commission (SEC) has clarified that polling in non-OBC seats in these local bodies will take place as scheduled.
A senior MVA minister said, “The government had decided to file an application on Wednesday but the Rural Development Department Secretary refused to sign it, citing that the government should make its argument for lifting of the stay on 27 per cent quota for OBC community in the local bodies during the next hearing on December 13.” The secretary questioned how the state government can move an application seeking stay on the elections.
However, MVA partners raised the issue at the Cabinet and asked the secretary to sign the application. Till Wednesday evening the government had not filed the application and it is expected it will be done on Thursday as the Cabinet has directed the secretary to sign it. The government will also move an intervention plea seeking postponement of elections or allowing polling in OBC wards, too.
Ironically, the state urban development department has also not made any moves to protect the 27 per cent quota for OBCs in municipal corporations, municipalities.
Maharashtra food and civil supply minister Chhagan Bhujbal left for Delhi after making a strong case for the postponement of local body elections at the Cabinet meeting. “I will meet lawyers during my stay and discuss the set of arguments to be made during the next hearing in the apex court. The government will plead for the postponement,” he added.
Veteran NCP leader Praful Patel also held a series of meetings with leading lawyers, including former attorney general Mukul Rohatgi. It is expected that Rohatgi will appear during the hearing on December 13 in the apex on the intervention plea.
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