The tussle between political parties and the State Election Commission (SEC) over conducting elections to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) seems to be heading for a confrontation as a privilege motion was moved in the Assembly against SEC on Wednesday.
Even as the Assembly adopted a resolution seeking deferment of the elections, SEC Commissioner CR Chikkamath had issued a direction to all the DCs on Tuesday evening to prepare for polls as per the 2007 reservation list.
Irked by Chikkamath’s action, two BJP MLAs - Sarvabhouma Bagali and Abhay Patil - moved a privilege motion in the Assembly accusing him of belittling the dignity of the House by not heeding to the appeal made by the members. The motion was supported by MLAs cutting across party lines.
Speaker K G Bopaiah after reserving his ruling on the privilege motion, summoned Chikkamath for talks in the presence of the members of the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of the Assembly, including Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar.
The BAC members reportedly asked the SEC to find ways to defer the polls, complying with the wishes of the Assembly members. Political parties want ULB elections be held as per the reservation list prepared on the 2011 census data, which is likely to be available by May-end.
After the meeting, Chikkamath stood his ground and said that the elections will be held as per the direction of the SC. “I am bound by constitutional obligations and SC directions to conduct polls. The SC has made it mandatory to conduct polls on time in its judgment in the Kishan Singh Tomar Vs Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation case,” Chikkamath said.
He also defended his direction to the DCs and said that he had asked them to prepare for polls as per the SC direction. “As of now, polls have been planned according to 2007 ward reservation list. I have told the DCs to publish the reservation list and send a report. When the SEC gets the report, the calendar of events for polls will be announced,” he said.When his attention was drawn towards the privilege motion moved against him, he said: “I am governed by the Constitution and am following the directions of the SC. With this, the chances of ULB polls being held before the Assembly elections appear brighter.”