Days after the Maharashtra Legislature passed the bill proposing the direct election of gram panchayat sarpanch, the State Election Commission (SEC) on Wednesday announced the elections to the 1,166 gram panchayats with the election of sarpanch directly from the people. These elections will take place with the seats reserved for other backward classes (OBCs) in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent order.
With today’s announcement, the Shinde-Fadnavis government will make every effort to win maximum seats in gram panchayats and also the sarpanch posts at a time when the NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray have yet to recover from the shock of the loss of power in Maharashtra.
Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Fadnavis combine will take the advantage of their alliance to checkmate opposition NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena at a time when the fate of Maha Vikas Aghadi hangs in the balance.
SEC Commissioner UPS Madan said Backward Class seats of citizens are due for these elections in the percentage recommended by the Dedicated Backward Class Commission. He added that the concerned Tehsildar will release the election notice on September 13.
Nomination papers will be filed from September 21 to 27 except on September 24 and 25 being weekend holidays.
Scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on September 28 while the deadline for withdrawal of nomination papers will be 3 pm on September 30. Election symbols will be distributed on the same day. Voting will be held on October 13 from 7.30 am to 5.30 pm. Voting time will be till 3 PM only in Naxal-affected areas.
The counting of votes will take place on October 14.
As reported by the Free Press Journal, the state legislature during the monsoon session passed by voice vote the Maharashtra Gram Panchayat Act, 1958 (Amendment) bill moved by the rural development minister Girish Mahajan proposing the direct election of the gram panchayat sarpanch.
CM Eknath Shinde had strongly justified the government’s intent saying that there was a demand from the people that the gram panchayat sarpanch be elected directly. He clarified that it was not the government’s agenda.
Shinde further said that the Maharashtra State Sarpanch Parishad had demanded that the gram panchayat sarpanch should be elected and directed by the people. ‘’We accepted the demand. We are working based on the demands of the people, we are not implementing our agenda. We are working according to the will of the people,’’ the chief minister said.
However, the opposition had objected to the direct election of the sarpanch.