THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Uncertainty continued to prevail on whether byelection will be held in Kuttanad and Chavara assembly segments, even as the Election Commission (EC) announced the Bihar assembly election dates on Friday. One will have to wait till September 29 to know the outcome as the EC will hold a meeting that day to decide the schedule of bypolls across the country.
Though the state had conveyed that it was not keen on having a byelection, sources say the EC is keen on fulfilling its constitutional obligation of conducting the poll. The worsening Covid situation and the impracticality of holding bypolls with such a short period left for assembly election were the two reasons the state was not keen on bypoll. This was officially conveyed to the poll panel by Chief Secretary Vishwas Mehta as well as Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena.
“If it is the pandemic that is cited as a reason, the EC has already decided to hold the Bihar election adhering to the protocol,” said a senior official with the Election Department. Also, the argument that only a few months are left for the election is applicable for states such as Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Assam. Along with the bypoll in Kuttanad and Chavara in Kerala, the EC is also looking at conducting bypolls in these states as well.
“This is an unprecedented situation for the EC. So it will examine various aspects before arriving at a final decision. But the probability is more for the Commission to go ahead and announce next week the dates of the byelections to all 64 vacant assembly constituencies across the country and one Parliament seat,” the official said.
Local body polls: Final voters’ list on October 1
T’Puram: The State Election Commission has postponed to October 1 the date of publication of the final voters’ list for the upcoming local body election, as some local bodies have been shut down after their employees tested Covid positive. As per the earlier schedule, the final voters’ list was supposed to be published on September 26. The draft list was published on August 12 and the process of rectifying errors and enrolling new voters is under way. Elections are due to 941 grama panchayats, 152 block panchayats, 14 district panchayats, 86 municipalities, and six municipal corporations. The term of the present councils in various local bodies expires on November 11. An all-party meeting had urged the state election commission to postpone the polls for a ‘brief period’ but not indefinitely.
Ward reservation process from Sept 28
T’Puram: The draw of lots for assigning reservation wards in the run up to the local body polls will be held from September 28 to October 6 in various centres. While the process will be held from September 28 to October 1 in grama panchayats and municipalities, it will be held on October 5 in block and district panchayats.
The dates for municipal corporations are as follows: Kozhikode, Kannur (September 28); Kochi, Thrissur (September 30); and Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram (October 6). The draw for three-tier panchayats will be supervised by the district collectors concerned, and the task will be carried out by the joint director (urban affairs) and director (urban affairs) in municipalities and corporations respectively.