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Saturday, Nov 23, 2019

Madhya Pradesh Governor clears ordinance on mayor elections but he has a complaint

Though the ordinance is yet to be issued formally by the state government, the governor’s consent has paved the way for indirect elections to the posts of mayors of municipal corporations and other civic body chiefs slated to be held in January next year.

india Updated: Oct 08, 2019 20:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been opposing the state government’s decision to opt for indirect mayoral elections, saying that it would weaken the democratic process in local bodies.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been opposing the state government’s decision to opt for indirect mayoral elections, saying that it would weaken the democratic process in local bodies. (Photo: VPSecretariat/ Twitter)
         

Madhya Pradesh governor Lalji Tandon on Tuesday approved the MP Municipalities Act Amendment Ordinance, 2019, but not without indicating his displeasure over pressure exerted on him to give the nod, according to an official communication from Raj Bhawan.

Though the ordinance is yet to be issued formally by the state government, the governor’s consent has paved the way for indirect elections to the posts of mayors of municipal corporations and other civic body chiefs slated to be held in January next year.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been opposing the state government’s decision to opt for indirect mayoral elections, saying that it would weaken the democratic process in local bodies.

Direct elections for heads of urban local bodies were introduced by the Digvijaya Singh-led Congress government two decades ago.

The governor’s nod for the ordinance came a day after chief minister Kamal Nath met him to explain his government’s stand. The Cabinet approved the ordinance on September 25.

A Raj Bhawan statement on Tuesday, said: “…Chief minister Kamal Nath during his meeting with the governor told him that the views of those who made an attempt to exert pressure on the governor by raising the subject in public, which went against the dignity of Raj Bhawan, were their personal views. The governor has decided to approve the ordinance having been satisfied with details explained by the CM in respect with the ordinance.”

On Sunday, Congress Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha, in a tweet, tried to remind the governor of his “Rajya dharm” (duty to the state) as an upholder of the Constitution, and requested him not to withhold his consent to the ordinance.

“Governor is of firm view that making comments on discretionary powers of the constitutional posts is an encroachment on the same. Dignity of governor’s post is impartial and undisputed,” the Raj Bhawan statement said.

Opposing the ordinance, state BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said, “It’s not good for democratic values in the state. Such an election when mayors and presidents will be elected by corporators may see misuse of the state government’s power and machinery and horse-trading as well.”

Welcoming the governor’s nod, state Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta said: “[It] was required so that time and energy wasted in such elections could be saved and there was no misuse of powers.”

In Rajasthan, too, where the Congress is in power, the state government is looking to change the law to reintroduce direct mayoral elections. Rajasthan Congress spokesperson Archana Sharma said this was being done on the demand of party workers. The Rajasthan government, led by Ashok Gehlot, has constituted a committee under development and housing minister Shanti Dhariwal to examine the issue and submit its recommendations, she said.