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MADHYA PRADESH IN ELECTION MOOD AGAIN

From L.S. Herdenia

 

BHOPAL: After Assembly and Lok Sabha elections Madhya Pradesh is again in election mode. While Madhya Pradesh electors voted for Assembly at the end of 2013, the first five months of the current year were also marked by election fever, now the stage is set for local elections in November and December. Elections mean total suspension of developmental activities.

 

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is taking local election with extra ordinary seriousness. It has decided to hold a massive congregation of party workers on October 30-31. The party expects that more than 25 thousand workers will attend what is being described as “Sankalp Adiveshan”. The party has drawn a unique plan to host the party workers who will come to attend the event. The party has indentified 11 thousand families in Bhopal where these workers will be staying. Every family will accommodate at least two party men. Among others chief minister other ministers; party MPs, MLAs and other important functionaries will also host the outside party workers. According to the party sources expenditure on the programme will be reduced to a consideration extent. Local party legislators and functionaries were asked to identify the families where the party workers from outside will be accommodated. A party spokesman claimed that the process for the identification of host families is already over.

 

The polls for local elections are conducted by an officer who enjoys constitutional immunity. In all 281 local bodies will go to the polls. The voting may begin in November and May be completed in December. Wards, post of mayors in corporations and posts of chairman of municipal committees have been reserved for women, tribals and schedule caste.

 

The reservation is done by drawing of lots. This process is not scientific but has to be resorted as it is considered to be the least controversial. According to this process post of mayors of 11 municipal corporations out of total 16 have been declared reserved. Similarly posts of presidents of 98 municipal councils have be declared as reserved.

 

After the lottery, the post of mayor for Bhopal, Gwalior, Khandwa, Dewas and Katni stayed intact for open competition.

 

While Jabalpur, Satna, Rewa and Ratlam seats are reserved for women candidates; Burhanpur and Sagar are reserved for OBC candidates; and Indore and Chhindwara are reserved for OBC women. The seat in Morena went to SC candidates, Ujjain to SC women and Singrauli to ST women.

 

50% of the total 264 Nagar Parishad seats have been reserved for women. Thus, 132 heads of parishads would be represented by women in Madhya Pradesh. Forty-two seats have been reserved for SC candidates and 21 for ST candidates, while 66 posts of heads of parishads have been kept reserved for OBCs.

 

Draw of lots were held under supervision of commissioner, Urban Administration Department.

 

Model code of conduct would be enforced in the state once election dates are announced.

 

With the completion of the process of reservation the factional politics has hot up both in the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress. At present BJP controls majority of the corporations and Municipal committees and Nagar Parishads.

 

The BJP will again try to capture the majority of the local bodies. Both the parties have their eye on winning mayors’ post in the major towns. At present Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur, which are the most important towns, are under the control of the BJP. The Congress is hopeful that it might get advantage of anti-incumbency in these towns.

 

There is one aspect of the law governing local urban bodies which hamper smooth functioning of various corporations and municipal committees. According to this law mayors of corporation and chairmen of Municipal Committees and ward members are elected directly. But in many cases while mayor may belong to one party and majority of ward members may belong to some other party. In such a situation mayors and presidents are not able to deliver goods as per their party’s programme. This anomaly must be removed in order to enable the local bodies to function in a coordinated manner.

 

The Bharatiya Janata Party has geared up its election machinery with a view that it may retain its commanding position in local bodies. In Madhya Pradesh elections in urban local bodies are fought on political basis the same is not the position in case of panchayats.

 

Anyhow results of local body may indicate whether Narendra Modi’s magic is still influencing elections. (IPA Service)

 

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