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6 Gujarat municipal bodies likely to come under administrator’s rule

The Supreme Court had effectively stayed the elections to the municipal bodies on a petition challenging the system.

Written by Hiral Devrajbhai Dave |
September 22, 2015 4:42:24 am

Six municipal corporations in Gujarat, including Ahmedabad, are likely to come under administrator’s rule. The state government, so far, has not filed its reply to a notice from the Supreme Court on the “one ward, multi-member” system, missing the September 20 deadline and further delaying the legal procedure.

The Supreme Court had effectively stayed the elections to the municipal bodies on a petition challenging the system. The court order came as a blessing in disguise for the BJP-led government, which has been at the receiving end to the Patidar agitation for OBC status and reservation benefits.

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The government neither filed a reply, nor moved a review plea in the apex court. This delayed the legal procedure and in turn the possibility of holding elections in next month when the five-year term of the exiting municipal bodies would end.

“There are strong chances that six municipal corporations might come under administrator’s rule,” remarked a senior official from the state election commission. The government might now choose to argue verbally in the court during the next hearing on September 28, sources said.

“The case now will come up for hearing on September 28. All eyes are on it, when the Gujarat government will be giving its reply to the court,” said an official from the Urban Development department. The senior officials, however, from concerned departments, including panchayat and rural development, urban development and state election commission, opined that the government’s slow and dull response increased the chances on the election getting delayed.

“Delay in the local body elections, in wake of sensitive political, social as well as law and order situations emerging out of the Patidar agitation, has been seen as blessing in disguise for BJP and the government,” said the official from the state election commission.

Based on a case filed by four Vadodara residence, the SC on September 4 in a notice issued to the Gujarat Government had questioned the multi-member system in local bodies. The multi-member system in municipal corporations and nagapalikas is unique to Gujarat.

So far, Gujarat have three councillors per ward. It had been increased to four, by way of delimitation, to introduce 50 per cent women reservation in local bodies.

Of total eight municipal corporations, six — Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot and Jamnagar — are set to go for polls. Elected bodies at rest of the two — Gandhinagar and Junagadh — have not completed the five years terms yet. Including nagarpalikas, taluka and district panchayats and municipal corporations, over 300 bodies were set to go for polls from October.

The SC order, however, may not be applicable on taluka and district panchayat elections.

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