BHUBANESWAR: Elections to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) are likely to be delayed as Odisha Government has decided to challenge the Orissa High Court order in the Supreme Court on reservation of seats in non-scheduled areas in the State. The High Court had earlier directed the State Government to act in compliance with the Supreme Court ceiling order on reservation and ensure that the upper limit of reservation of seats in respect of the SCs, STs and BCs should not exceed 50 per cent for the forthcoming urban elections.
Director of Municipal Administration Sangramjit Nayak said though the High Court had allowed to breach the upper limit of 50 per cent reservation in the scheduled areas that comes under the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act, it put the cap on non-scheduled areas.“We will move the Supreme Court against the High Court order as soon as possible. As per Orissa Municipal Act ,1950 there is no cap on reservation of seats for SCs and STs. Before the order came, the reservation and delimitation of seats in most of the areas had been completed. If we go for further rearrangements, it will delay the process,” he said.
Of 114 ULBs in the State, elections to 93 ULBs are due from September to July. While the term of 66 ULBs, including Berhampur Municipal Corporation, ends in September, 20 civic bodies will complete their terms on December 4 and two others on December 9. Similarly, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation will complete its term on January 17 and Cuttack Municipal Corporation and Baripada Municipality’s term expires on February 13, next year. The term of Balangir and Titilagarh municipalities ends on July 11, 2019.
As per the Constitution, election to constitute a municipality will have to be completed before the expiry of its term of five years. Of 93 ULBs, 55 have more than 50 per cent reserved seats which has put the State officials in a fix.
The Opposition claimed it to be a tactic to delay the elections for political gains. While BJP spokesperson Pitambar Acharya said neither the State Government nor the Election Commission is interested to conduct the ULB polls on time, Congress MLA Jacob Pradhan said it appears to be a deliberate attempt to delay the process so that the urban elections can be held after General and Assembly polls next year.
Local polls may be delayed
● State Govt decides to challenge High Court order
● Opposition claimed it to be a tactic to delay the elections for political gains