In a sign of growing people’s empowerment at the grassroots level, voters in two districts of Chhattisgarh have recalled the elected chiefs of three local municipal bodies for not delivering.
This is possibly the first time in the country that presidents of three nagar panchayats or local urban bodies have been voted out of office at one go. In 2001, voters had exercised the right in Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh.
A rare election to decide the fate of the three, who were elected in 2004, was held on June 15 and the results were declared on Tuesday. The ballot comprised of only two symbols — an empty chair (for recall) and an occupied chair (in favour of the representative).
State Election Commissioner Shushil Trivedi told HT that the three were recalled as they failed to secure more than half of the votes polled as required. Fresh polls will be held for the vacant posts.
The right to recall a chief of a local body is provided in the Chhattisgarh Municipality Act. Under Section 47, three-fourth of the elected representatives of an urban body have to give it in writing to their district collector that they want the chief out. The process then leads to the election.
The provision was adopted from Madhya Pradesh, of which Chhattisgarh was a part till 2000, but was fine-tuned last year. The Constitution, which does not provide for recall of any elected representative, allows states to enact laws relating to elections of local bodies.
Those who lost their posts are Bharti Sonkar of Gunderdehi and Sitaram Ganekar of Nawagarh (both Durg district), and Khoren Khalko of Rajpur in Sarguja.