The Haryana state election commission on Tuesday submitted in the Punjab and Haryana high court that it was ready to conduct elections to the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) on the basis of the position of wards and voters as they were during the polls in 2011.
In a reply filed before the court, the commission sought the court’s permission “to conduct the election to the MCG immediately on the basis of existing wards and electoral rolls.”
The court was hearing a petition filed by Gurgaon residents challenging the ward demarcation carried out by a six-member committee recently. The court fixed March 30 as the next date of hearing in the matter, said Suvineet Sharma, counsel for the petitioners.
A petition was filed by the Qutab Enclave RWA of DLF Phase-1 on February 1 questioning the legitimacy of the ward delimitation order that led to the demarcation process.
Petitioners also alleged that the ward demarcation was carried out by a six-member committee that comprised members only from the BJP, the ruling party.
The term of the elected representatives of the MCG ended on June 21 2016, and polls were to be held before the expiry of their tenure.
“Not conducting elections before the expiry of the term of the municipality is a clear violation of constitutional provision made in Article 243U and the Haryana Municipal Corporation Act, 1994, as well as the directions given by the Supreme Court,” PK Sharma, secretary of the election commission, said in his reply.
Accusing the state government of the delaying most municipal and panchayat elections, the commission also prayed before the court that the commission be allowed to conduct the panchayat and municipal elections before the expiry of the terms of the elected representatives. The commission said the election could be held on the basis of the existing wardbandi and electoral rolls if the state government does not complete the work on ward delimitation at least six months prior to the expiry of the term of the institutions concerned.
“The ward delimitation process takes time, but the government always tries to hold elections on time. The high court ordered, on December 12, that MCG elections should be held within three months and we have initiated the process in compliance with it,” said a senior official of the urban local bodies department.
MCG wards were reduced from 35 to 32 in March this year on the basis of a population census, which recorded city’s population at 9.9 lakh.
The MCG had formed 35 wards on the basis of a local survey in 2011 that recorded the population at 11.53 lakh. The 2011 Census, which came later, recorded the population at 9.9 lakh.
The government also submitted its reply on the matter through Monica Malik, special secretary, urban local bodies department.
The reply mentioned that the petitioners concealed material facts and also mentioned “incorrect facts” in the petition. Justifying the ward demarcation by adhoc committee, the government reply sought a dismissal of the petition and the imposition of a “heavy cost” on the petitioner.
The adhoc committee members comprised six BJP leaders — MLA Umesh Aggarwal, former MCG mayor Vimal Yadav, former councillors Dalip Sahni and Gargi Kakkar, BJP Gurgaon secretary Anil Yadav and GL Sharma, chairman of Haryana Dairy Development Cooperative Federation Limited.