Local body polls will bring about shift in governance: Bedi

Kiran Bedi  

The conduct of local body elections will cause a “dramatic” shift in governance of the Union Territory as it will ensure the participation of women in decision-making, Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi said on Friday.

“The elected men and women will be able to plan and ensure due implementation of their own programmes. Women will form one-third of this grassroots leadership, which is a dramatic shift in governance of the U.T. Right now, there is no woman in the Cabinet,” Ms. Bedi said in a message to reporters.

After the elections, many women would be involved in planning and decision-making, she said and urged the Local Administration Department and the District Rural Development Agency to educate people on the likely changes.

The Education Department could be involved in the awareness programme as the services of teachers could be used, she said. “There is no going back now. We have a legal direction (Supreme Court order on conducting polls) to process the elections without any delay,” she said.

The team led by the Chief Secretary had ensured that an experienced person was appointed as the State Election Commissioner. The office of the Lt. Governor had fulfilled its responsibility so as to ensure everything went legally, Ms. Bedi said. “We now have to grasp this change quickly and get ready in identifying and choosing right candidates in the coming months so that we can ensure a prosperous Puducherry.”

Process set in motion

Refusing to get drawn into the controversy surrounding his appointment, State Election Commissioner Roy P. Thomas on Friday said he had initiated the process to hold local body elections in Puducherry.

“I will not comment on the appointment issue. It needs deliberation and there are several facts surrounding the issue. But I have started the process to conduct the elections. I cannot predict whether it will be held before or after the Assembly elections. All I can assure is that civic body polls will be held at an appropriate time,” he said at his first press conference after assuming charge. All the stakeholders would be consulted in due course on holding the elections.

Mr. Thomas said he had called on Ms. Bedi and Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy after assuming charge on Wednesday as per protocol.

Key appointments to conducting the polls, including that of district and regional election officers, would be made shortly. The next task would be to prepare the draft electoral roll. The delimitation process had been completed, the SEC added.

Stating that it was “unfortunate” that civic body elections were not held for a long time, he said local bodies were the backbone of the administration.

Whether in terms of delivery of services or people’s participation in governance local bodies played an important role in a democracy, he added.

The local bodies also played a major role in making women part of the governance process. Also, economically and socially weaker sections get representation in governance, the SEC said

“Local bodies are vital part of a democratic system,” Mr Thomas said.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 8:52:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/local-body-polls-will-bring-about-shift-in-governance-bedi/article32933419.ece

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