Following MP high court decision setting aside notification on merger of areas under Kolar Municipal Council and 20 more villages with Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) as illegal, civic polls in Bhopal are likely to be delayed further.
Schedule for local bodies' poll in Bhopal had not been declared by the State Election Commission in the wake of delimitation process but there was a hint that election could be held in December. However, following the court's order, delimitation process will have to be carried out afresh with the governor presiding over the exercise.
When asked whether civic polls in Bhopal would be affected by the high court order, BJP state spokesperson Hitesh Vajpayee said, "It's a bureaucratic exercise and we shall go by whatever the court and the bureaucracy decide on the issue."
However, former Congress spokesperson and a contender for mayor's ticket from the party, Pankaj Chaturvedi said, "The issue of delimitation of area under BMC was badly handled by the state government, which resulted in high court declaring the exercise null and void. Now, boundaries of BMC will be required to be redrawn, and in such a situation, the civil polls in Bhopal will have to be deferred by at least six months."
He said in addition to the fact that district collector disposed off the objections received over proposed merger of new areas into BMC, which is against the law, the HC in its order on Friday further pointed out that Kolar Municipal Council should not have been merged with the BMC in any case as a petition was pending over the issue in the Supreme Court.
The HC has also held that objections to merger proposals should be heard and disposed off by the governor and not the district collector. The court has asked the governor to carry out the exercise afresh while holding the final notification on merger of areas into BMC as illegal. The first notification on proposal of merger was, however, referred to governor by the court to decide its legality.
The first notification had proposed merger of 141 villages and areas under Kolar Municipal Council into BMC but the final notification issued after disposal of objections decided on merger of only 20 villages apart from area under Kolar municipality. Former MLA PC Sharma and Amitabh Agnihotri, who is fighting against merger of Kolar municipality into BMC, had moved the HC against merger of new areas into BMC.
Collector, Bhopal, Nishant Warwade, said, "I can't say anything on the delay. I am not an authority to decide the matter. We shall do what we are asked to do by the State Election Commission and the government."
State election commissoner, R Parasuram, who is responsible for conducing local bodies' election, said the commission had not scheduled elections to Jabalpur, Chhindwara and Bhopal because the process of delimitation was on at these places. The commission thought civic polls at these places could be held in December but that idea will have to be revisited in the light of HC order and state government's response to it, he said.