Elections to about 22,200 cooperative institutions in the State will be held in five phases. The first phase, covering 22,192 primary cooperative societies, will go on till May 6, according to a press release issued by M.R. Mohan, State Cooperative Societies Election Commissioner on Monday.

As per the schedule, the first phase will be spread over four stages. Voting for 5,855 societies will be on April 5; for 5,603 societies, April 12; for 5,481 societies, April 19 and for 5,253 societies, April 27. In the case of directors of the primary cooperative societies, counting and declaration of results will be made on April 9, 16, 23 and 30. As for the posts of presidents and vice-presidents, this will be on April 16, 23, 30 and May 6.

The release said the schedule for other four phases would be announced later. However, sources say the entire poll process would be completed by August 9, up to which the term of administrators, previously called special officers, will last.

The previous elections to the cooperative societies were held in July 2007. During two rounds of the polls, there were incidents concerning law and order, following which the government cancelled the elections. Since then, the term of SOs was extended from time to time to manage the affairs of the societies. Prior to 2007, the polls were held in 1996. Five years later, the government dissolved the elected boards in toto and the societies were run through SOs. In August last, the State government promulgated an ordinance to facilitate admission of members to cooperative societies, overcoming an 11-year bar on fresh inclusion. It drew authority from the 97th Constitution amendment that came into force on January 12, 2012, enabling States to make appropriate laws on a host of matters. In January this year, another ordinance was promulgated. The ordinances were ratified by the Assembly.

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