In an unprecedented move, the Mayawati Government has taken strong objection to the decision of the Election Commission of India to postpone the counting of the U.P. Legislative Council polls from the local authority constituencies.
The elections were held on Thursday and as per the schedule of the polls the counting was to be held on Saturday, January 9, 2010. A letter has been sent to the commission seeking a review of the decision and the counting be held as scheduled.
According to the revised schedule of the counting announced by the poll panel on Friday, the counting will now take place on January 13, 2010 as the commission wanted to seek clarification on the nominated members from the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court, vide its interim order, dated, January 6, 2010. The Commission has sought a clarification on whether the High Court order on bar against voting by the 20 nominated members of Pratapgarh would also apply to the Legislative Council elections from other local bodies constituencies in the State.
Defending the Government's move, the Cabinet Secretary, Shashank Shekhar Singh said a request has merely been made to the commission for reviewing its decision by taking the plea that the schedule of the polls once announced should be followed. He denied that the State Government has no locus standi in this case and its move amounted to interference in the election process. Mr. Singh said the State Government ought to have been consulted before postponing the counting of votes.
“Right from the maintenance of law and order and making arrangements for the polls and counting the State Government is very much involved in the election process,” the Cabinet Secretary told reporters at a hastily convened press conference here on Friday. He said there is no ambiguity in the electoral rolls and the elections had passed off peacefully. The Cabinet Secretary said there is no occasion for the counting to be postponed.
Opposition to the commission's decision has also come from the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party with the state unit president, Swami Prasad Maurya accusing the poll panel of working at the behest of the UPA Government. Mr. Maurya said in a press statement that the Election Commission was working as a representative of the Centre.
Taking on the poll panel, Mr. Maurya said it was the duty of the Election Commission to ensure a free and fair poll rather than place obstacles in the election process. He said by accusing the State Government of misuse of official machinery in Thursday's polls the Samajwadi Party, Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party were trying to exert pressure on the commission. He demanded that the counting be held on January 9, 2010.