While no dates have yet been announced for holding elections to the nine state assemblies that have been dissolved, official sources said the Centre is keen that popularly elected governments are put back in the saddle as early as possible. The assemblies were dissolved by a presidential proclamation and the states — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Orissa, Rajasthan and Punjab — brought under central rule. How soon the process of restoring elected governments in these states will be completed depends on the Election Commission, according to official sources.
A consensus regarding Afghanistan and the restoration of stability and cooperation in the region is emerging following a series of high-level consultations India has had with its neighbours during the last few days. Stating this in Delhi, the foreign secretary, R D Sathe said the special envoys of the Indian government, who toured various capitals in the region, explained India’s position on developments in this area, including implications of the proposed supply of American arms to Pakistan.
Non-cooperation on the part of Opposition-run states, by delaying ratification of the Constitution Amendment Bill providing reservation of seats to Scheduled Castes and Tribes, is one of the three specific reasons the government has cited justifying dissolution of nine non-Congress (I) state assemblies. In a four-page statement defending the dissolutions, Law Minister P Shiv Shankar said the opposition parties which were in power in various states continued in office, despite loss of confidence of the electorate, by deliberately delaying ratification of the CAB. Their “deliberate inaction”, he said, “highlights their lack of concern for the advancement of the Interest of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes.”
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