A day after the Gujarat High Court rapped the State Election Commission (SEC) for not exercising its power to hold timely election of local bodies, the poll panel Thursday told the division bench that it will complete the elections by December 25. Later in the day, the commission moved an affidavit, as directed by the bench, explaining plans for all the pending elections, including panchayat, corporation and municipalities.
The bench was hearing a petition seeking timely panchayat polls which has been delayed by the state government which passed an ordinance in this connection. The petitioners have challenged the constitutional validity of the ordinance promulgated by the government which empowered the commission to extend the polls by three months. The bench has reserved the order, which is likely to be pronounced on October 21.
An additional affidavit, submitted by State Election Commissioner Varesh Sinha on Thursday, stated that out of six municipal corporations in the state, the term of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation term will expire on October 30 and Rajkot Municipal Corporation on December 12. Similarly, the terms of 56 municipalities were set to expire between November 7-December 14, it said. The terms of 31 district panchayat and 230 taluka panchayat will expire between November 8 and November 15, it added.
In the affidavit, Sinha stated that he had asked the state to take steps to get additional security cover to ensure “free and fair elections”. It also stated that Union Home Ministry informed the state government that with the ongoing Bihar polls, the Centre could not provide central forces.