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OBC reservation: State to request state poll panel to postpone bypolls

The Maharashtra government will write to the state election commission to postpone the bypolls declared for zilla parishad and panchayat samiti recently
By Faisal Malik, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JUN 24, 2021 12:33 AM IST

The Maharashtra government will write to the state election commission to postpone the bypolls declared for zilla parishad and panchayat samiti recently. State chief secretary Sitaram Kunte will ask the election panel not to hold polls as it is not the right time considering Covid-19 pandemic and alert over Delta plus variant cases found in the state. The state will also inform the commission that they will not be able to provide manpower for the polls as the state machinery is busy with Covid management.

The decision was taken in the state cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.

The state election commission on Tuesday declared to hold bypolls in five zilla parishads — Dhule, Nandurbar, Akola, Washim, and Nagpur and 33 other panchayat samitis — on the seats got vacated following a Supreme Court on political reservation for Other Backward Classes. The by-election is going to be held on July 19 and votes will be counted on July 20.

“Many ministers objected to the poll panel’s decisions of holding by-election. Since the election commission is an autonomous body, the state government cannot direct them to postpone the polls. However, it was decided to inform it that it is not an appropriate time to hold polls considering Delta plus variant cases found in the state. The state will also point out that the courts have slammed the Election Commission of India (ECI) for holding assembly polls in many states which has resulted in rise in Covid cases,” said a senior minister, wishing not to be named.

During the day, senior NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal demanded that the by-elections be postponed. “We have decided to field all candidates only from the OBC community for the bypolls,” said Devendra Fadnavis, leader of opposition and former chief minister.

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