Saturday, January 30, 2010

BBMP elections put off

BBMP elections put off
New Dates After Ward Reservation Process

Bangalore: It’s official. The BBMP elections will not be held on February 21. The state election commission called off the elections on Friday. The exact date of election will be decided depending on the final take on the reservation of wards.
This follows a day after the Supreme Court vacated its stay on the December 8, 2009 order of the division Bench of the Karnataka High Court, the state government on Thursday initiated the first step of writing to the State Election Commission.
“We told the SEC the government would study the SC order and get back to them on the government’s next course of action. But, we need a minimum of two months’ time to redo the reservation list’’ law minister S Suresh Kumar told TOI.
The government will now file a compliance report before the Karnataka High Court early next week which will outline the time required by the government. “We need to prepare a fresh list and then invite objections which would take approximately 45 days.
The state election commission itself had told the apex court that it would not be able to conduct the elections according to the revised schedule in the absence of the ward list from the government,’’ he said. On Thursday, the apex court made it clear that it would not interfere in the BBMP polls and it was between the state government and the high court.
The SEC wrote to the government on Friday, asking for an immediate reply on its stand on the reservation list. “We’ll be able to decide on the exact poll date only after the government replies. With the elections called, the existing calendar of events is also nullified. Voters can continue to get themselves updated on the list. The last date for the inclusions and deletions will also be fixed with the revised poll schedule. As of now, the election machinery is prepared. Readying of the voters’ list and training of booth officers are in progress. We only need the final reservation list,’’ SEC officials told TOI on Friday.
There’s still hope for a direct elected mayor with an extended term and elected ward committees. The possible delay in BBMP elections might rekindle efforts in bringing these much-expected citizens’ demands into effect before the actual polls.
The Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure Development task force is all set to get the blocks cleared for the Bengaluru Region Governance Bill. The Bill was submitted to the government a few weeks ago. It was shelved till the elections citing time constraints. ‘WAIT A WHILE FOR CLEAR PICTURE’ Advocate General Says Govt Will Have Little Option But To Obey HC Order Bangalore: The wait for BBMP elections continues. The pending procedural formalities clearly indicate an inevitable delay. Advocate general Ashok Harnahalli on Friday said: “A clear picture will be out only next week. Even before reservation, plight of the existing calendar of events must be decided.” Excerpts from an interview:
What’s the latest on the reservation list? Has the government made its stand clear before the court?
It’s not clear yet. The government will file its application next week.
Why the delay till next week?
First, the State Election Commission must clear its stand on the calendar of events. No doubt fixing of reservation is government responsibility. But once election schedule is announced, the SEC becomes responsible for the calendar of events. It must make its stand clear.
What are the options available for the government?
It really doesn’t have much option but to go as per the court order. There might be a few people unwilling or unprepared for the elections for various reasons. But court proceedings must also not be ruled out. The government did not expect this sudden turn of events.
Will there be a delay now?
Well, that’s difficult to answer. It’s likely to be influenced by two major procedural aspects. As far as reservation guidelines are concerned, the government has reworked and submitted the revised guidelines as per the high court directive. But this was based on operative part of the judgment and needs to be thoroughly reworked. That needs time. It is unlikely to be completed before February 1, when the notification comes into effect.
CONGRESS WILL APPROACH COURT The Congress has decided to move the court for early elections to the BBMP council. “We have no other option but to move the court as the BJP is not interested in holding the election,” KPCC president R V Deshpande said. The party will also approach the State Election Commission in this connection.
Deshpande said this situation would not have arisen had the BJP allotted reservations in a transparent manner as directed by Justice Gopala Gowda in his verdict. “The ruling party is under the fear of losing the election owing to some unsavoury development within the party,” Deshpande claimed.
Opposition leader in legislative assembly C Motamma said BJP MLAs fear their power will be curtailed following the BBMP elections. She demanded that a legislative session be convened immediately to discuss various issues, including BBMP polls and church attacks. TNN CONG AND JD(S) WON’T RETURN CANDIDATES’ APPLICATION FEES
Political parties have decided not to return application forms and money collected from aspiring candidates. The JD(S) has issued over 600 applications at Rs 10,000 each. The SC and ST candidates were given an exemption of Rs 2,000. The Congress has issued over 1,800 applications by collecting Rs 100 each. While receiving the applications, it collected Rs 5,000 from general category people and Rs 2,500 from SC, ST and women candidates. The BJP hasn’t issued application forms.
Both Congress and JD(S) leaders feel the elections will be held sooner or later and hence have decided to keep the applications. “The elections can’t be deferred indefinitely. None of the aspiring candidates are asking for return of money. So, we will keep the forms and scrutinize them before the elections,” said JD(S) Bangalore city unit president Narayan Rao. KPCC general secretary Ramachandrappa echoed the opinion. TNN
The last day for Bangaloreans to submit forms for inclusions and deletions on the voters’ list has been extended. But there was no crowd at many centres on Friday, the original last date, due to confusion surrounding the polls. Even the usually busy ones like the centre on Queen’s Road wore a deserted look.
The process of registering as voters and updation is a regular one that can be done any time of the year. But past experience shows the activity gaining momentum only before elections. The unsettled BBMP election agenda seems to have kept most voters still confused. Many also complained about lack of proper information in spotting centres. The State Election Commission had earlier ruled out immediate extension of the deadline. “It’s set procedure. Ignorance of law cannot be an excuse. Regular voters keep themselves updated. Genuine names will not be missing from the list. But, we deliberately avoided the ward-wise submission to reduce time. At least three days will be lost in trying to collect these forms,” an official had said. TNN


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