Seeking direction for the immediate conduct of elections to urban bodies in Odisha, three separate writ petitions were filed in the Orissa High Court by different leaders and individuals today.
Former bureaucrat Prasanna Mishra filed the petition from Bhubaneswar while former Minister and senior BJP leader Samir Dey moved the court from Cuttack. Similarly, BJP MLA from Puri Jayant Sarangi filed the writ petition from his home town seeking direction to the State government and the State Election Commission (SEC) for conducting the urban body polls.
Senior lawyer Pitambar Acharya will appear in the Court for the three petitioners.
The BJP has been accusing the SEC of creating a Constitutional crisis by maintaining silence over the polls to civic bodies even though the term expired in September 2018. The BJP had also met the State Election Commissioner earlier urging him to direct the Odisha government to extend the necessary administrative support to fulfil the Constitutional obligation.
A party delegation had recently met Commissioner Aditya Padhi urging him to approach the High Court for a direction to the government for necessary steps to hold the polls.
However, two weeks after the party met him, the Commission paid no heed to the demands of the BJP prompting the saffron front to knock the door of the High Court.
The BJP had alleged that SEC was hand in glove with the ruling BJD which is clearly seen from its silence on the issue of urban polls.
Elections to the urban local bodies in Odisha are pending since 2018.
The SEC had cited that inordinate delay in completing the delimitation and reservation exercise was the root cause of delay in conducting the polls.
The SEC would prepare the electoral rolls and initiate poll process based on the government’s delimitation and reservation works.
In 2018, the Orissa High Court had set aside the Odisha Municipal (Delimitation of Wards, Reservation of seats and Conduct of Elections) Amendment Rules, 2016, as reservation of seats had reached 66 percent, way past the 50 percent limit. The government moved the Apex court but it upheld the HC order in 2019.
In March this year, the Government had hinted at initiating all process for the urban polls. But, the second wave of Covid pandemic came on the way