THE STATE Government has landed in a soup over holding the crucial civic elections. The Allahabad High Court order, summoning chief secretary NC Bajpai and other officers of the Urban Development Department, has caused ripples in the government. The chief secretary has been summoned in person to explain the reason for the delay in holding the polls. Hence, the possibility of issuing notification for election in October could not be ruled out.
The officers have now been desperately trying to wriggle out of the tricky situation created by their political masters. The officers have expressed resentment at taking the court case lightly. There was a flurry of activity in the urban development department to thrash out the issue to give a convincing reply to the court on September 8. However, a final decision could not be taken because Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav was in Gwalior on Tuesday.
Even though the civic polls were due in October-November 2005, the court taking up the issue through a PIL gave six months time to hold the election.
Thus, May 2006 was the deadline for completion of the process. But, for one reason or the other the government adopted dilly-dallying tactics to avoid the election before the assembly polls.
In an affidavit, the government submitted to the court that the notification of the polls would be issued by August 21 and process would be completed in September.
However, political compulsions have forced the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) to find out some alibi to defer the elections. Even though other political parties are also reluctant to go to civic polls, the SP is opposed to it because of prevailing anti-incumbency factor.
Dissension in the party at the ward level in ticket distribution could adversely affect the party’s prospects in the assembly polls. Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president Chaudhury Ajit Singh had openly opposed civic election at this juncture. But with the court taking a tough stand on the issue, there appears to be no escape route for the government.
The State Election Commission had already stated that it was ready to hold the election. The delay was on the part of the government. The commission has again sought to know the stand of the government after the court order.
Additional commissioner Vinay Priya Dubey said that the court had not made adverse comment against the commission. He said that commission had been monitoring the situation and was ready to hold the election.