LUCKNOW: The UP rural local body polls, already delayed due to the Covid pandemic, are round the corner. State Panchayati Raj Minister has said the reservation policy for the village panchayats will be out this week.
The state election commission is yet to announce the dates, though last week, the Allahabad High Court directed the state authorities and state poll panel to complete the rural local body polls by April 30. The state government appointed administrative officers for these local bodies a day after the end of the tenure of 58,000 gram panchayats on Dec 25, last year.
This time, 880 gram panchayats have been reduced due to the expansion of urban bodies in the last five years, the state government said in a response to a query by the HC on delay in holding these elections. Advocate general Raghavendra Singh, the counsel for the poll panel, explained that many gram panchayats were merged into urban areas due to urbanization.
As a result, the gram panchayats had to be delimited afresh. While 59,074 village pradhans were elected in 2016, only 58,194 village heads would be elected in the upcoming polls. The Election Commission told the High Court the voter list schedule was prepared on January 22. While the work related to delimitation was completed on Jan 28, details on reservation of seats remained incomplete.
“That’s why the election schedule has not been released,” the counsel said. The panel said once the reservation of seats was fixed, the election will take 45 days. After the HC order, it is believed that on March 18, the state poll panel may issue notification for the elections.
Maintaining that the government was ready for the polls, Panchayati Raj Minister Bhupendra Singh Chaudhury said the reorganisation and delimitation of the gram panchayats was over and that the reservation policy would be out by the weekend. “The panel could then announce the dates for the polls any time,” he said.