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Sunday, July 25, 2021

SEC stays Maharashtra local body bypolls ‘at present stage’

The SEC took the decision considering fears of a possible third wave of Covid-19, spread of the Delta plus variant of the virus and the fact that the second wave is yet to fully subside.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai |
Updated: July 10, 2021 4:17:52 pm
This means that the SEC will hold the remaining election process from “the stage where it is today” without converting these vacant seats into the OBC category. (Representational Photo)

In a partial relief to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, the State Election Commission (SEC) on Friday stayed bypolls “at the present stage” for the 200 seats in five zilla parishads and 33 panchayat samitis, which were rendered vacant following the Supreme Court’s March 4 order quashing OBC reservation in local bodies.

The SEC took the decision considering fears of a possible third wave of Covid-19, spread of the Delta plus variant of the virus and the fact that the second wave is yet to fully subside.

State Election Commissioner U P S Madan said that in view of Supreme Court’s July 6 order and the state’s request to defer the bypolls, the SEC had sought more information from the government regarding the prevailing Covid-19 situation as well as detailed reports from the district collectors.

“Based on that, the Commission has stayed the bypolls at the stage where it is today. The Commission will announce the completion of the remaining stages of the bypolls post improvement in the Covid-19 situation,” he added.

This means that the SEC will hold the remaining election process from “the stage where it is today” without converting these vacant seats into the OBC category.

It is a setback for the government, as it wanted a stay on these bypolls so that it can prepare empirical data to provide OBC reservation in these bypolls as well as all elections to other local bodies.

“We will hold the bypolls from the present stage without converting these seats into the OBC category,” Madan confirmed.

Voting for these bypolls was scheduled to be held on July 19, followed by counting on July 20.

On June 22, the SEC had announced bypolls for the 200 OBC seats in the five zilla Parishads and 33 panchayat samitis in the districts of Dhule, Nandurbar, Washim, Akola and Nagpur.

Bypolls to OBC seats in these local bodies were to be held subject to the outcome of petitions that the SC was hearing regarding exceeding the 50 per cent reservation limit.

On March 4, while quashing OBC reservation in local bodies, the SC had ordered that the OBC seats be vacated and asked the SEC to initiate bypolls for these seats from the general category.

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