Karnataka among four States to get award for best electoral practices

The delay on the part of the government in empowering the State Election Commission to hold elections to chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) came in for criticism at the National Voters’ Day celebrations here on Saturday.

Non-functioning ULBs

Speaking at a function organised to mark the day, State Election Commissioner C.R. Chikmath said the delay in elections to these posts had resulted in only 88 of the 208 ULBs to which elections were held in March 2013. The State government has a Constitutional obligation to empower the EC to hold elections, he added. “We have nearly lost one year because of the delay,” he said. The government has cited litigations and lack of clarity on reservation as reasons for delay in handing over of powers to the commission.

Governor H.R. Bhardwaj said the State government should implement local self governance in letter and spirit and ULB elections should be taken to their logical conclusion. He said he would speak to the government to remove hurdles in the way of handing over of powers.

Delays

He said he was “unhappy” that the EC had to earlier go to the court to even hold the ULB elections. “These delays will frustrate the very purpose of local self governance,” he said.

The Governor urged people to vote without consideration of caste, community or money power, which are the three “ailments” of the system which require a cure. He said more young people from all sections of society should join politics. He hoped that the women’s reservation bill, still hanging fire, would be passed soon. “I hope better sense prevails soon,” he said.

The Governor congratulated Karnataka for being recognised by the Election Commission for best electoral practices and introduction of innovative measures resulting in high turnout in Assembly polls last year.

The other three States to win the award are Rajasthan, Tripura and Delhi.

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