Hold panchayat polls as scheduled in Karnataka: Congress

Congress delegation submitting a petition to State Election Commissioner B Basavaraju. Photo: Special Arrangement

Congress delegation submitting a petition to State Election Commissioner B Basavaraju. Photo: Special Arrangement  

A delegation from Karnataka Congress on Friday submitted a petition to the State Election Commissioner urging him to hold elections to 6,024 gram panchayats (GPs) in the State as per Article 243 of the Constitution and the Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj Act, 1993.

Elections to GPs were last held in 2015 and the terms of these bodies will end in June-July.

A delegation comprising Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, KPCC president-designate D.K. Shivakumar, and legislators H.K. Patil and S.R. Patil met Commissioner B. Basavaraju.

Speaking to presspersons afterwards, Mr. Siddaramaiah alleged that the State’s BJP government was trying to “subvert the Constitution and panchayat raj laws” by postponing elections to GPs citing the spread of COVID-19.“The Commission has not provided any information so far about the preparation of electoral rolls, fixing of reservation to seats, and calendar of events for holding elections. It is the duty of the Commission to hold elections as per the Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj Act,” he said.

Quoting Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K.S. Eshwarappa, he said the Cabinet had taken a decision to put off elections and issued directions to Deputy Commissioners to undertake COVID-19-related work. The Congress leader said the government intends to appoint administrative committees to GPs though Deputy Commissioners.

“The Karnataka State Election Commission is an independent body and it need not listen to the government. The government has no right to give directions to the Commission, which is a constitutional body,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said. “We have told the Commissioner to hold elections as per the law and not to succumb to the government’s pressure tactics. The Commissioner promised that they would abide by the law and act accordingly.”

Mr. Shivakumar said elections to GPs were apolitical and the Congress would protest if the government went ahead with the appointment of its party workers to administrative committees of GPs.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 1:26:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-congress-petitions-state-election-commission-seeking-polls-to-gps/article31649164.ece

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