Cabinet divided over civic body polls, Capt says it can’t be delayed
Terms of Punjab’s civic bodies had come to an end between March 8 and April 26 this year; as per provisions, polls have to be conducted within six months. The state government, in February, had announced that the polls will held in June and July, but entire schedule went haywire due to Covid-19 pandemic.Updated: Jun 30, 2020 23:49 IST
The Punjab cabinet is divided over the schedule for the ensuing civic body polls in the state even as chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh said that the elections cannot be delayed beyond a point.
A section of the cabinet is in favour of early polls in August, while the rest feel that it should be delayed for as long as possible.
The terms of nine municipal corporations and 117 municipal councils and notified area committees in Punjab came to an end between March 8 and April 26 this year, and as per the provisions of the Municipal Act, 1911, the polls should take place within six months, so all these civic bodies should go to the polls between September 7 and October 25, depending on the end of their terms. Currently, the civic bodies are being run by government- appointed administrators.
The state government had, in February, announced that the polls will held in June and July, but the entire schedule went haywire due to Covid-19 outbreak.
Cabinet ministerTript Rajinder Singh Bajwa was of the opinion that the polls should be held early and if not that, it should be conducted in time. “But we should also keep in mind that we are passing through a pandemic and safety comes foremost,” he said.
Cabinet minister Vijayinder Singla suggested that the polls should be conducted in November, as, according to him, the development works would be complete by then and the government’s candidates would be in a commanding position.
To this, Bharat Bhushan Ashu said development works can’t be undertaken in monsoon so it’s best to complete the tendering process, make a public perception and go for polls in September.
Cabinet minister Sukhjidner Singh Randhawa, said, “Don’t delay the polls as once the deadline lapses, it would be a lengthy process of bringing an ordinance and the Vidhan Sabha will have to approve it. We should face the polls as soon as possible.”
Stating that the polls should be conducted within the legal framework, the CM asked a committee, comprising Mohindra and Bajwa, to bring a consensus within the party and take a decision. “I will discuss the matter with the chief minister again and after nod of the cabinet, decision will be taken,” said local bodies minister Brahm Mohindra. The decision is expected later this week.