Fadnavis asks CM to withdraw order to appoint administrators to gram panchayatsUpdated: Jul 16, 2020 01:16 IST
Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday asked chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to withdraw a recent order issued by the rural development department to nominate administrators for 14,000 gram panchayats by chief executive officers of the concerned district council in consultation with the district’s guardian minister.
Fadnavis in a letter to Thackeray said, “This is a completely motivated decision aimed at gaining political upper hand during a pandemic. Nearly 50% gram panchayats will complete their tenure and will go for elections in November this year. The nomination of political administrators is a bid to squash the democratic tradition of local self-government in villages.”
He also said that most sarpanchs were against this decision and that the Akhil Bharatiya Sarpanch Parishad, an organisation of village chiefs, had even said they would move court against the July 13 government resolution.
In view of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown, the state election commission (SEC) had postponed elections to gram panchayats, whose terms ended or will end between March and November, to end of the year.
Of the 28,000 gram panchayats, around 14,000 panchayats are slated for polls. However, the SEC had recommended appointment of administrators on these bodies till the polls.
While these elections are not contested on a party symbol, elected gram panchayats are linked to political parties. In the last round of gram panchayat polls in 2017, when 3,131-odd bodies went to polls, BJP had claimed an upper hand though Congress had challenged those claims. In the upcoming polls, Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) parties will try to corner BJP to take control of these bodies.