Postponement of civic polls will put power in MLAs’ hands
The state cabinet’s ‘inclination’ to increase the number of BBMP wards from 198 to 225, even as a revision of civic electoral rolls is underway, is being seen as a tactic to delay elections to the civic council.
Observers point out that the 74th amendment to the Constitution is aimed at strengthening local institutions. Elections for local bodies must be held before the expiration of the term of the elected council. The amendment clarifies that continuity in the democratic system must be maintained at the grassroots level.
In 2008, when the BJP was in power, BBMP had not held elections for two years. Elections were held in 2010 after the intervention of the High Court. There was no election in 2015 before the council expired, and an administrator was appointed for five months.
According to a senior councillor, MLAs and the state government do not want BBMP elections to be conducted on time since, in the absence of an elected body, all decisions concerning wards can be taken by legislators. Besides, by putting pressure on the administrator, they can do whatever they want.
The BBMP bill 2020 was placed in the assembly in March, and a joint advisory committee headed by MLA S Raghu was set up in August to review the bill.
The government issued a draft notification on May 2 for the restructuring of BBMP wards, and the final notification was issued on June 23.
The current BBMP council’s term expires on September 10. Based on the directive of the State Election Commission, BBMP has already begun the work of voter list revision.
Civic chief’s take
Responding to the issue, BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad said if the government increases the number of wards, a decision will be taken after consultation with the State Election Commission on whether or not the ward list should be revised.
‘Panel report not ready’
Meanwhile, Joint Advisory Committee chairman S Raghu said the panel’s report was not yet ready.