Panchayat elections in all likelihood would be held either in the last week of June or in the first week of July.
Officials see no problem in conducting the elections with reservations based on 2011 census data and dismiss the reports that it would take three to five months for it to happen.
‘’It will take about three weeks for us to collate the date and decide on reservations, since the process of SC, ST reservations for the elections is already under progress,’’ principal secretary (panchayat raj) V Nagi Reddy told Express.
According to him, in about three weeks time from the date of announcement of village level data of SC, ST population by the Directorate of Census, they will submit the reservation status to the State Election Commission.
State election commissioner P Ramakanth Reddy said that it would take about 17 days to issue notification for the elections after the submission of the report from the government. Elections would be held within a month of notification.
Panchayat raj minister K Jana Reddy said that they would conduct the elections as per the rules and constitutional provisions. ‘’If the census data pertaining to village level is out and necessary gazatte notification for the reservations is issued, we will go by it,’’ he said.
Director for Census Operations (Andhra Pradesh) YV Anuradha on Friday submitted the copies of the Primary Census Abstract (PCA) to chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and and governor ESL Narasimhan. According to her, it is the final data of Census pertaining to village population and SC, ST population.
Panchayat elections which were overdue since July- August 2011, were delayed for various reasons, the primary reason being the legal hurdle for conducting the elections. Ceiling on reservations for BCs, SCs and STs was increased to 60.5 percent on which High Court had issued a stay, stating that total reservations should not exceed 50 percent in accordance with Supreme Court directions.
Following it, the state government filed a special leave petition in the Apex Court. On February 18 the Supreme Court gave the go ahead to the state government to conduct the local bodies elections as per the existing 60.5 percent reservations.
After getting the green signal from the Supreme Court, the state government had announced that the elections will be held in April-May. However, now with latest Census data out, the demand is for elections in accordance with 2011 Census data from the opposition parties. The delay had cost Rs 800 crore worth Central funds to 21,500 and odd village panchayats in the state in the last two years. Most importantly, there were not elected public representatives, which people could confide in, affecting the village welfare, though special officers were elected to oversee administration.