BENGALURU : With the BBMP Council completing its term on September 10, and an administrator in charge, there is general concern about when elections will be held. A city-based think-tank has said the government can go ahead with fresh elections.
PG Shenoy and CR Ravindra, directors of the Centre For Urban Governance Studies and Policy Research, said, “There are no legal hindrances to holding fresh elections.’’ The BBMP Act, 2020 has come into force. The term of the previous BBMP Council expired on September 10, 2020, following which an administrator was appointed.
“Elections should have been held before the expiry of the previous Council’s term. Delimitation and reservation process was completed in advance, and the State Election Commission had also published the voters’ list so that elections could have been completed before September 10, 2020.’’
Under Section 7 of the BBMP Act, the Palike has at least 225 wards. Therefore, the government should have allowed the State Election Commission to proceed with elections to 198 wards which are already notified, to fulfil the mandate of Article 243U of the Constitution. The government can further divide the existing 198 wards, as the new Act specifies a minimum of 225 wards for BBMP, soon after completion of the poll process, and constitute the new BBMP Council, they said.
Elections for the 27 additional wards can be held after the new wards are notified along with reservation. This administrative arrangement will avoid further delay and eventually, elections to the next BBMP Council can be completed by June 2021, taking into consideration the preparatory time required by the SEC. Till such time, the administrator can continue under extreme circumstances, they added.
However, it must be noted that there is no provision under Section 127 to appoint an administrator unless the body is superseded or dissolved prematurely. ‘’This alone can resolve the deadlock and confusion created for various reasons and ensure compliance with the Constitutional mandate,” they added.
The government must also incorporate zonal demarcation for the 198 wards already notified to facilitate constitution of zonal committees, as they are specified as statutory corporation authorities and form an integral part of the BBMP Council.