June 26, 2021 12:43:04 am
After the state called for deferment of bypolls for local bodies, the State Election Commission (SEC) on Friday informed the government that it is not possible to postpone the bypolls for Other Backward Classes (OBC) seats, as they are being held as per Supreme Court directions.
On Wednesday, the state Cabinet had decided to request the SEC to defer bypolls in five zilla parishads and 33 panchayat samitis citing the existing Covid-19 situation and the threat from Delta plus variant. On Thursday, Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte had written to the SEC regarding this.
“Today we have informed the state that it is not possible to defer these byelections. We are holding them as per SC order,” State Election Commissioner U P S Madan told The Indian Express. The bypolls are scheduled to take place on July 19, followed by counting on July 20.
Madan added that there is unlikely to be any shortage of manpower. “The bypolls are not being held in the entire district but are limited to 27 per cent of the seats that have fallen vacant. So, there won’t be any issue of manpower.”
The SEC on Tuesday had announced bypolls for 200 OBC seats — 70 zilla parishad and 130 panchayat samiti seats. The bypolls will take place in five zilla parishads of Dhule, Nandurbar, Washim, Akola and Nagpur and 33 panchayat samitis in these districts.
On March 4, while quashing OBC reservation in local bodies, the SC had ordered that OBC seats be converted into general category seats and asked the SEC to hold bypolls for these seats.
The move had angered the OBC community – estimated to be 52 per cent of the state’s population – leading to OBC leaders like NCP’s Chhagan Bhujbal and Congress’ Vijay Wadettiwar raising objections in the state Cabinet. “The bypolls should be postponed till OBC reservation is restored. Any haste in conducting elections would be an injustice to the community,” Bhujbal had said.
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