Government extends tenure of 65 urban local bodies

The Odisha Government has decided to amend the relevant Acts to extend the tenure of 65 urban local bodies (ULBs) by six months.

BHUBANESWAR:The Odisha Government has decided to amend the relevant Acts to extend the tenure of 65 urban local bodies (ULBs) by six months. The tenure of these ULBs was scheduled to be over on September 19, 2018.

A decision to this effect was reported to have been taken at the meeting of the State Cabinet presided by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday. Sources said the State Government will bring an ordinance in this regard after the monsoon session of the Assembly. The session is scheduled to be over on September 20.However, there was no briefing about the decisions taken at the Cabinet meeting because of the ongoing Assembly session. The decision is likely to be announced in the Assembly. The Cabinet meeting was originally scheduled on September 3, but was deferred.

Though the State Government deferred the ULB polls on the plea that delimitation of Wards and reservation of seats have not been completed, political observers believe that the decision to extend the tenure of the urban bodies was taken to avoid elections at this juncture.A below par performance would have been embarrassing for the BJD which has always won a majority of ULBs without any real challenge from the BJP and Congress.

Earlier, the State Government had expressed its inability to complete Ward delimitation and seat reservation exercise within the scheduled time. Sources said the State Government, in a letter to the State Election Commission (SEC), had expressed its inability to complete Ward delimitation of 90 ULBs along with reservation of seats by September.

Earlier, the Government had directed the district collectors to complete Ward delimitation and reservation of seats by April 30. However, the work is yet to be completed.On the other hand, the Government has decided to move the Supreme Court challenging the Orissa High Court order on restricting reservation of seats within 50 per cent.

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