Assembly adopts Gram Swaraj Bill amid walkout by Congress

K.S. Eshwarappa  

The Legislative Assembly on Thursday adopted the Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Bill that provides for constitution of delimitation commission, amid walkout by the principal Opposition Congress.

Both the Opposition parties, the Congress and the JD(S), termed the Bill as a “ploy to put off zilla panchayat (ZP) and taluk panchayat (TP) elections” much against the spirit of decentralisation of administration and expressed serious resentment to its provisions.

Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah termed the Bill as “draconian” and said, “It is an attempt by the BJP to decide delimitation and reservation of wards to suit its political needs and also put off the ZP and TP polls.”

Congress member Krishna Byre Gowda said the government was only using the provision for setting up a delimitation commission to further delay the ZP and TP polls. “It only shows that the BJP does not have confidence of winning the majority seats in rural local bodies,” he said.

JD(S) leader H.D. Revanna too opposed the Bill by saying that it only displayed the mindset of the government which was not in favour of holding elections. Congress member K.R. Ramesh Kumar said it was an effort to manipulate the reservation system at the grass-roots level.

Pointing out that constitution of a delimitation commission would delay the process of elections to panchayat raj institutions, he said this would mean that the ZP and TP elections were unlikely to be held before the next Assembly elections in 2023.

‘To ensure fairness’

Earlier, piloting the Bill, RDPR Minister K.S. Eshwarappa maintained that the Bill was being brought in to ensure fairness in the process of delimitation and fixing of reservation of wards in the wake of thousands of objections being filed by the general public against such an exercise undertaken by the State Election Commission.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 10:44:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/assembly-adopts-gram-swaraj-bill-amid-walkout-by-congress/article36507234.ece

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