Andhra Pradesh: SEC Steps Up Pace To Conduct Local Body Elections 

Representational Image - Sakshi Post

AMARAVATI: After the Andhra Pradesh High Court directing the state government not to exceed the reservations quota to more than 50% in local body elections on Monday, the State Election Commission (SEC) has stepped up pace in its efforts to conduct the local body elections. The judgment was delivered based upon on a petition filed challenging the reservation of seats in local body elections.

The Panchayat Raj Department has started exercise to carry out MPTC and ZPTC elections from Monday evening to finalize the reservations. Though the High Court has given 30 days time to finalize the reservation, which should not exceed 50 per cent, officials are expected to complete the process within one or two days.

With the local body elections stalled since August 2018, Rs 3,710 crore funds from the Centre to the Gram Panchayats and Rs 1,400 crore for the urban municipalities were withheld. CMO officials discussed with the Panchayati Raj officials about the chances of holding the elections at the earliest and ensure release of the funds by the end of March. Earlier, Panchayati Raj department Commissioner Girija Shankar held a teleconference with ZP CEOs and DPOs to discuss various issues related to the printing of the ballot papers and reservations. Once the reservation categories are finalised, we will hold a meeting with the political parties and release the election schedule, SEC officials said.

AP State Election Commission Secretary Ramasunder Reddy earlier said, the State was ready to conduct elections once the High Court gives its verdict related to the Local Body Elections reservations issue.

It may be recollected that the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet under the chairmanship of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, had taken a crucial decision to amend the Panchayat Raj Act, to usher in reforms in the elections to local bodies and has decided to conduct local body elections before March 15th.

Speaking in this context, he said that all arrangements for the local elections (corporation, municipal, ZPTC, MPTC, gram panchayat elections) have been completed. "We are ready to conduct local elections and municipal elections through the ballot paper system," he said.

Also Read: State Ready to Conduct Local Body Elections: Ramasundar Reddy

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