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Vikash Sharma

The Orissa High Court on Wednesday asked the State Chief Secretary and the State Election Commission to furnish reply within four weeks on the issue of conduct of civic body polls in the State.

The court issued the directive while hearing a string of writ petitions seeking immediate conduct of the civic body polls, informed senior advocate Pitambar Acharya.

“The State Election Commission has failed to discharge its Constitutional duty and is deliberately delaying the civic polls. The Commission is acting hand in gloves with State government to ensure that administrators are roped in to looking into the management of the municipal corporations,” alleged Acharya.

Acharya said that the HC will further hear the matter after the concerned parties submit their replies within the stipulated time. BJP had filed a number of petitions in High Court seeking immediate conduct of civic body elections in Cuttack, Puri and Bhubaneswar.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Opposition parties, including BJP, have been accusing the Odisha government and the State Election Commission of creating a crisis by deferring the civic polls for nearly three years.

Recently, a BJP delegation had met the Odisha Governor seeking his intervention in the matter. The party had urged Governor Ganeshi Lal to direct the State Election Commission to hold simultaneous elections to the civic bodies and Panchayati Raj institutions in the State.

During his recent Odisha visit on August 19, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that the BJP has urged the Odisha government and the State Election Commission to conduct Panchayat elections and civic body polls simultaneously in the State.

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