BENGALURU: The State Election Commission is likely to conduct Gram Panchayat elections in Karnataka by December. It will be done as per the new guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India and by taking all precautionary measures.
In Karnataka, there are 6,025 gram panchayats and their tenure ended in June/July. In May this year, SEC announced postponement of the panchayat polls citing the Covid-19 pandemic as an “exceptional circumstance”. Meanwhile, a PIL was filed before the Karnataka High Court questioning the postponement.
Recently, the SEC had informed the High Court that the reservation list for the Panchayat elections was ready in 21 districts and that the remaining nine districts had sought time. B Basavaraju, State Election Commissioner, told TNIE they are keen on conducting the elections but due to the pandemic, there is no clarity. “The Election Commission issued guidelines for conducting elections during Covid-19. Based on this, we will frame Standard Operating Procedures (SoP) and follow all safety aspects,” he said.
“In order to put safety measures in place, we need funds. We will soon write to the State government in this regard,” he said. “We might restrict the number of voters per booth and go in for additional auxiliary polling booths,’’ he added. Basavaraju said, “We are interacting with the respective DCs on preparedness. The voter list is also getting ready. We have started the process and may need two months to complete it. We are hoping to conduct the elections by this year-end.”