Panchayat Raj Minister K. Jana Reddy here on Monday announced that the government will conduct panchayat elections by April-end or the first half of May by following the “existing framework of rules”.
It will complete all preparatory work within 45 days, including the lists of the panchayats to be reserved for the Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Elections would be conducted on non-party basis for the 21,840 panchayats and on party basis for 1,097 mandals and 22 zilla parishads.
The Minister’s announcement at a media conference followed the Supreme Court order earlier, deposing in the State government’s favour a special leave petition (SLP) filed by it for conducting these elections with an overall reservation of 60.55 per cent as was done in 2006.
Panchayat elections are overdue since 2006 when the five-year term of the elected bodies ended.
“We will prove our sincerity to re-establish democracy at grassroots level, by completing the spadework in 45 days and submit the list of reserved panchayats to the State Election Commission along with recommendations on the dates convenient for polling.
Failure to conduct the elections had resulted in the Centre freezing an amount of Rs.1,700 crore due to the Sate under various schemes.
In line with the existing framework, the basis for which was an order issued for the 2006 elections and reissued again last year, 34 per cent reservation would be provided for BCs, 18.3 per cent for SCs and 8.25 per cent for STs.
The announcement removes the uncertainty about these polls following litigation over the upper limit for reservation. K. Ramgopal, Commissioner, Panchayat Raj, recalled that the Supreme Court, in its landmark judgment in 2010 dealing with a petition from Karnataka, had stipulated that the overall reservation should not exceed 50 per cent.
The litigation in AP followed a GO re-issued by the government to conduct the elections with 60.55 per cent as in 2006, but this was suspended by the High Court dealing with a petition.
The government then filed SLP before the apex court against the HC order as recommended by a Cabinet Sub-Committee.