Postpone the municipal elections, SEC urged

Forum for Good Governance has through a letter on Thursday, requested the State Election Commission to postpone the upcoming municipal polls in view of the raging COVID-19 pandemic in its second wave.

Conducting elections for two corporations and five municipalities poses a grave threat to the lives of people in Telangana, when coronavirus spread has reached 6,500 cases per day, the letter said. The Forum also questioned the amendment to the Municipal Act in 2018, which seeks the SEC to obtain concurrence from the State government for conducting elections to municipalities. This is clear violation of Article 243-ZA of the Constitution of India which vests with SEC the power of superintendence, direction, and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for the conduct of all elections to the municipalities, the letter said.

FGG has filed a PIL against the amendment in High Court for which the State government has not filed counter. As per the newly promulgated Telangana Municipalities Act, the schedule and dates on which elections will be conducted, shall be decided by SEC in concurrence with the State government. Taking advantage of this, the State government is directing the SEC to conduct elections when it suits the ruling party politically, the letter alleged, and attributed the advancement of GHMC elections and postponement of elections to Khammam and Warangal corporations to the same motive.

Conduct of municipal elections on April 30 is not justified in the light of predictions that the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic will reach its peak in the next two to three weeks, the letter said, drawing example from the fallout of the Nagarjunasagar by-elections during which many political bigwigs have been infected. With only five per cent of the State population vaccinated, the writing on the wall is clear, it cautioned.

The SEC of Andhra Pradesh has exercised its discretionary powers to postpone the elections to municipalities in view of the pandemic, the letter sought to remind the SEC. The elections are already delayed and postponing them for two more months will not make any difference, it said.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 5:21:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/postpone-the-municipal-elections-sec-urged/article34386945.ece

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