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Maharashtra government writes to SEC to defer local polls by three months, SEC to reply this week

The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi cabinet had passed a resolution on Wednesday requesting the SEC to defer the polls.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai |
December 20, 2021 2:11:45 pm
The polls to the 15 municipal corporations and 25 zilla parishads, which are called “mini assembly” in local political parlance, are likely to be held next year. (Representational)

Just days after the state cabinet passed a resolution favouring deferment of forthcoming local body polls in Maharashtra, the state government has written to the state election commission (SEC) asking the poll body to postpone elections to local bodies by at least three months in order to allow it to collect data pertaining to the share of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the population.

The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi cabinet had passed a resolution on Wednesday requesting the SEC to defer the polls. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) minister Chhagan Bhujbal had then said that the chief secretary will write to the SEC on the issue.

Sources in the SEC said that the commission is examining the matter. “We received the letter on Friday, and will reply to the government this week,” State Election Commissioner UPS Madan told indianexpress.com.

Notably, the resolution has been passed with regard to forthcoming local body polls and it will not have any bearing on polls to the 105 nagar panchayats, two zilla parishads and some by-elections that are slated for Tuesday (December 21).

The polls to the 15 municipal corporations and 25 zilla parishads, which are called “mini assembly” in local political parlance, are likely to be held next year.

The cabinet resolution was passed last week after the Supreme Court rejected the state government’s plea requesting census data from the Centre. The apex court also directed the SEC to convert OBC seats into general seats. After the Supreme Court on December 6 put a stay on the state government’s ordinance providing 27 per cent OBC reservation in local polls, the SEC stayed elections to the seats reserved for the OBCs.

The Supreme Court, in its order on March 4, had asked the state government to fulfill the ‘triple test’ before notifying seats reserved for the OBC category. The triple test includes setting up a dedicated commission for collecting empirical data on OBC population, specifying the proportion of reservation and ensuring that the cumulative share of reserved seats don’t breach 50 per cent of total seats.

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