Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Govt delaying BBMP poll: SEC

Govt delaying BBMP poll: SEC

Commission asks High court to give it eight weeks' time to hold elections

Srikanth Hunasavadi. Bangalore



The state election commission (SEC) has blamed the lack of co-operation from the government for its inability to hold polls to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) within the July-31 deadline stipulated by the High Court of Karnataka.
In an interlocutory application before the High Court, the commission sought eight weeks time to hold the civic elections.
"The state government is not co-operating in conducting the BBMP elections within the deadline set by the High Court. Though the court granted time up to July 31, 2009 way back in March itself, the government has not taken any action. We wrote to the government on January 8, April 8 and also June 9, but received no reply from the state government," the commission said in the affidavit.
The SEC filed the petition under Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure, read with Article 226 of the Constitution.
"The government initially issued draft notifications of delimitation of wards on August 18, 2008 proposing to form and constitute 147 wards. But thereafter, the government decided to increase the number of wards to 198, for which it issued the final notification of ward delimitation only on July 15. The government has not yet prepared reservation list for the 198 wards. It was not possible on the part of the SEC to publish the electoral rolls for conducting elections as they had to be drawn up on the basis of the boundaries of each ward. The boundaries of the old wards have now changed and new wards have been formed by the government," the SEC further said.
"After the publication of the voters' list, we have to form around 8,000 polling booths. The SEC has to identify the places where the polling booths will have to be located and will have to accordingly prepare the electoral rolls pertaining to each polling booth," it was submitted.
The SEC has estimated that the final electoral rolls for all the 198 wards would be completed by August 31, 2009.
The state government has amended the Karnataka Municipal Act to enable the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the civic polls. In view of this, the SEC has placed orders with BEL to supply 9,500 EVMs and additional 6,000 ballot units. The SEC will receive these EVMs only by August 17, the commission said. Besides, the SEC has requested BBMP to release Rs13.5 crore for conducting the elections, but the civic body is yet to release the amount, the affidavit said.
The EC is holding talks with urban development department officials and police officers to ensure that the elections are a smooth affair.
Explaining the facts and circumstances, the SEC asked the court to extend by another eight weeks the deadline to hold the BBMP elections. h_srikanth@dnaindia.net

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