Rashmi Ranjan

The BJP in Odisha lambasted the Chief Electoral Officer over the inordinate delay in conducting municipal elections in the State.

In a media address on Sunday, senior party leader Pitambar Acharya said, “There are no public representatives in the municipalities and this is not a good sign for a democracy. Hence, the civic and panchayat polls should be conducted as soon as possible.”

He said elections to as many as five municipal corporation and 109 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) are pending for the legal tangle over Odisha Municipal Rules-2016. The Chief Electoral Officer should move Orissa High Court in this regard, he said, adding," else we will knock the doors of the court.” 

“Since 2018, no municipal election has been held in the State. The civic polls must be conducted before pachayat elections,” Acharya demanded.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Orissa High Court had struck down the Odisha Municipal (Delimitation of wards, Reservation of seats and Conduct of Elections) Amendment Rules, 2016 after the reservation of seats crossed 50 per cent.

The reserved seats as per the 2016 Odisha Municipal Rules had touched 66 per cent. Though the State Government moved the Supreme Court, the latter upheld the HC judgment.

So as to keep the reservation within 50 per cent limit, the Odisha government needs amendment to the Odisha Municipal Act and get it passed in the Assembly.