EVEN AS the elections of the Municipal Corporation are round the corner, the Chandigarh Administration has failed to include rehabilitation colonies in Dhanas and Mauli Jagran in municipal limits, thus depriving over 30,000 residents of their rights to vote.
The elections are scheduled for December and the Administration is left with no time to include both the colonies in the MC limits. The process of including an area into MC limits takes minimum of three months. As per norms, after initiating the process, objections are invited from the general public and thereafter notification is issued.
UT home secretary and secretary (local government) Anurag Agarwal, who is also chief electoral officer, confirmed that both the colonies would not be added as there wasn’t enough time to complete the process. “We will issue a notification regarding wards on Monday,” said Agarwal.
The Chandigarh Administration had rehabilitated slum-dwellers residing in Colony Number 5 and Industrial Area Phase I in Dhanas Rehabilitation Complex and Mauli Jagran, respectively, in 2013. The residents of both the colonies had cast their votes in the 2014 parliamentary election.
Colonies across the city are considered to be stronghold of Congress and the party is accusing rival BJP for the non-inclusion of both the colonies in MC limits. The Congress has also taken up the matter with the Chandigarh administration.
“The BJP had played in role in non-inclusion of both the colonies as they after staring at defeat in the elections,” said Chandigarh Congress president Pradeep Chhabra.
He added that the Congress would take up the issue in the meeting with State Election Commissioner to be held later this month. “We want the voting rights of these residents to be restored and included in the voter list being prepared for the ensuing general elections,” said Chhabra. “The administration was aware that the elections were scheduled for this year. They had enough time to transfer both the colonies to MC limits,” he said.
Sanjay Tandon, president of Chandigarh BJP, rubbished the allegations, saying that the party does not interfere in the functioning of the administration. “The Congress party has gone into panic mode and are leveling baseless allegations. They don’t have any issue to raise. That is why they are making such noise,” said Tandon.
Earlier this month, UT State Election Commission had announced that MC elections would be held in 26 wards only but on the basis of 2011 Census. The decision came as a blow to the Congress as out of five wards that will be reserved for scheduled caste, three belong to Congress councillors – Subhash Chawla (ward number 5), Poonam Sharma (ward number 7), Darshan Garg (ward number 11). The remaining two wards that are going to be reserved are ward 23 of BSP councillor Jannat Jahan and ward 6 of BJP councillor Sat Prakash Aggarwal.