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MC polls: Punjab govt is ready, but MLAs want fresh delimitation

Legislators meet CM: Local bodies minister Sidhu says he is with the MLAs and the CM will take the final call.

punjab Updated: Nov 22, 2017 11:54 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
MC polls,Punjab govt,fresh delimitation
“I am with the MLAs and the final decision is of the CM,” said local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.(HT File )

Ten days after Punjab government notified that it had finalised the delimitation process and was ready to conduct elections in three municipal corporations of Amritsar, Jalandhar and Patiala, Congress MLAs have demanded fresh delimitation.

They want boundaries of some of the wards re-drawn, and a number of wards reserved for women now to be reserved for men, and vice-versa. Earlier, the government had postponed polls in Ludhiana to January from December after Congress MLAs complained of ‘improper delimitation’.

Congress MLAs Inderbir Singh Bolaria and OP Soni, from Amritsar (south) and Amritsar (central), respectively, and Sushil Rinku from Jalandhar (west) have approached chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh seeking fresh delimitation of some municipal wards falling in their constituencies and a rethink on reservation for men and women. The state government has reserved 50% wards for women in these polls.

“I am with the MLAs and the final decision is of the CM,” said local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Officers, however, hinted at postponement of polls in Amritsar and Jalandhar corporations. “Only Patiala would be as per schedule,” said a department officer. The state government has always wanted to hold polls in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala and Ludhiana corporations in one go.

Commissioners are now heading civic bodies

Elections in four municipal corporations – Amritar, Jalandhar, Patiala and Ludhiana are over due after their five-year term expired in September. The government has removed the mayors — all of the SAD-BJP combine and have appointed commissioners as officiating heads of these civic bodies. The opposition had been objecting to this arrangement. The SAD has already nominated teams of its leaders to prepare for the polls, a cause of worry for the Congress.

The MLAs and the local bodies department have been at loggerheads for some time. The department claims it takes all decisions based on suggestions from MLAs, the legislators counter that their suggestions are never taken into account.

MLAs recount issues

MLA Rinku told HT, “Of 23 wards in Jalandhar MC that fall in my constituency, boundaries and reservation of 10 wards has been incorrectly done. Jalandhar has 75 wards.” From Amritsar, Soni, in whose constituency 14 wards fall, claimed that things ‘needed to be reworked’. Amritsar has 85 wards.

First Published: Nov 22, 2017 11:53 IST