VISAKHAPATNAM: Technical hurdles have come as a blessing in disguise for the ruling Telugu Desam Party which appears to be in no mood for conducting the elections to Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) any time soon. If TDP senior leaders are to be believed, the polls are unlikely to be held for at least another six months. The GVMC has been functioning without an elected body for the past four years for various reasons particularly the pending court cases against the merger of a few villages between the city and Bheemili with the civic body.
Soon after coming to power, the TDP had planned to conduct the polls but had to wait owing to the court cases. Though the government is claimed to be exploring a resolution to the legal tangle, no major effort has been seen to convince the villagers for the merger. The government is yet to take a decision on the issues raised by the five villages _ Kapuluppada, K Nagarampalem, Nidigattu, JV Agraharam and Chepaluppada _ over the merger issue. Further, the issue has become more complicated with fresh demarcation of the municipal wards remaining a challenge. “With the addition of Anakapalle and Bheemili, we have to take up the demarcation. However, it cannot be taken up without the court cases being solved,” said a TDP leader. Though the authorities are ready to complete the demarcation by setting aside the areas covering the five villages and later demarcate them as separate municipal wards, the government is sitting on the proposals, citing technical reasons. About 1,700 polling booths in Visakhapatnam North, South, East and West constituencies, along with Gajuwaka, Bheemili, Anakapalle and Pendurthi will be now part of the GVMC. Residents of these areas were asked to enrol themselves in the electoral rolls for the municipal polls. But following the latest instructions by the Election Commission, the voter survey was stopped from Friday. The GVMC officials claim that though the survey deadline is March 31, the work will be delayed as they were told to update the software before carrying out the survey.
The top officials and political parties in the know of things confirm the elections are unlikely to be held before September. According to them, even if merger of the villages is kept pending and the government goes ahead with demarcation of wards, it would take at least four months to complete the process. The revision of electoral rolls also is expected to take a month after the upgrade of the software.