Gujarat local body polls to be announced by Nov 16: SEC tells HC

The Gujarat State Election Commission (SEC) on Friday told the state high court that the schedule of panchayats, municipalities and municipal corporations elections will be announced by November 16.

PTI| Updated: Oct 16, 2015, 22:37 PM IST

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat State Election Commission (SEC) on Friday told the state high court that the schedule of panchayats, municipalities and municipal corporations elections will be announced by November 16.

In an affidavit filed before the division bench of acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice N V Anjaria, SEC said that it would announce the programme of all the three local bodies polls by November 16.

Senior Advocate Mihir Thakor, appearing on behalf of the SEC, said that separate programmes of all the three local bodies, which comprise panchayats, municipalities and municipal corporations, will be announced by then.

This was after the Gujarat high court directed the EC to file another affidavit giving details of the upcoming local body polls across the state in connection with a plea against the move of postponement of the elections.

Yesterday, the SEC had told the high court in an affidavit that the local body elections will be completed by December 25. However, the Election Commission had not specified any dates for the polls in its affidavit submitted to the high court yesterday.

The HC directions came following a petition filed by Vice President of Gandhinagar District Panchayat and a Congress member Virendra Vaghela and a resident of Umrada taluka panchayat of Bhavnagar district Jagdish Bhatt, through their advocate and Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil.

On October 4, the SEC had announced postponement of the polls to various local bodies in the state, citing law and order situation as a reason due to Patel quota agitation.

The SEC had given the accounts of ongoing quota stir by Patel community and counter agitation by other communities for the law and order situation in Gujarat.

Last month, the government had issued an ordinance by which these polls could be delayed in view of the law and order situation.

However, the petition argued that the ordinance is in violation of the constitutional schemes. The plea sought the HC's direction to the SEC to issue a notification for holding election of panchayats before expiry of the term.

The Commission's notification stated that elections to six municipal corporations, 56 municipalities, 230 taluka panchayats and 31 district panchayats were expected to be held between October and November this year as the term of these bodies is expiring in the period, but now they will take a call on it after three months.

The high court will give its verdict on the petition on October 21.