The Maharashtra government, on Tuesday, allowed elections to be held of nearly 2 lakh cooperative societies, including 1 lakh cooperative housing societies in phases, as per the poll schedule fixed by the State Cooperative Election Authority. However, elections will not take place for cooperative housing societies with less than 250 members. The state government is yet to finalise the rules for the same.
The state government had postponed elections to the district central cooperative banks, urban cooperative banks, primary agriculture cooperative societies, sugar factories, spinning mills, market committees, milk federations, credit societies, employees' credit societies, cooperative housing societies, consumer societies and labour associations citing the COVID-19 pandemic. The government, on March 18, 2020 had announced postponement of these elections up to June 17, 2020, and later again to December 31, 2020. Further, on January 16, 2021, the government had issued notification further deferring the poll till March 31 this year.
The government had postponed these polls by exercising powers to defer elections for one year during natural calamities in larger public interest under Section 73 CC of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960.
However, the state cooperative department desk officer Anil Chaudhari today issued a notification to revoke the January 16 decision and, thereby, facilitate polls to cooperative societies in phases. He said that the decision was taken following the representation by a number of elected representatives and members of cooperative societies. They had said that elections should be permitted, as despite the COVID-19 crisis, the polls to gram panchayats and the state legislative council were successfully held.
Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association Chairman Ramesh Prabhu said that the government has now lifted the stay on conducting elections for all types of societies. “It has now given permission to hold elections in stages. However, the elections to cooperative housing societies having less than 250 members still cannot be held as the poll rules are not yet finalised. This is really unfortunate.”