Govt to repeal Panchayat Raj Act amendment

Govt to repeal Panchayat Raj Act amendment

The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting held on Tuesday. Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister Suresh Kumar said the government would request the governor to promulgate an ordinance to repeal the amendments to the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act, 1993.

However, the government’s decision is likely to delay the panchayat elections, as the State Election Commission has to revise the reservation chart for taluk and zilla panchayats. The Commission has already notified the chart on Tuesday.

Asked whether the elections would be delayed, Suresh Kumar said: “Once the ordinance is repealed, the Election Commission has to re-do the ward wise reservation. There is no chance for a delay in the elections as the reservation chart followed in the previous elections would be in effect.”

The amendment to the act had incurred the wrath of Opposition parties as well as a section of ministers in the Yeddyurappa cabinet.

The chief minister held a meeting of his colleagues at his residence before attending the cabinet meeting. In the meeting, the ministers are reported to have mounted pressure on the chief minister to repeal the ordinance, saying it would be difficult otherwise for the BJP to face the elections to the ZP and TP. A section of ministers reportedly argued that the amendment was sufficient to brand the BJP as anti-backward classes. A similar debate continued in the cabinet meeting also. After a lengthy discussion, the cabinet decided to repeal the ordinance.

Suresh Kumar said the proposed amendment would be brought in only after a detailed discussion in the State Legislature. The reservation for backward classes, particularly in Raichur and Chitradurga Zilla Panchayats, was brought down from 10 to two.  The Supreme Court in its order in May this year capped reservation in the panchayat bodies at 50 per cent. On the basis of the court order, the government promulgated the ordinance. Subsequently, the number of seats reserved for BC(A) category was reduced from 268 to 180.

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