BBMP polls likely in September

BBMP polls likely in September

While  State Election Commissioner C K Chikkamath blamed the State Government for the delay, the Election Commission filed an interlocutory application (IA) before the High Court seeking an extension of eight weeks to conduct the polls.

Chikkamath told mediapersons later that the elections cannot be held unless electoral rolls are prepared. “It is mandatory for the SEC to provide the electoral rolls and list of polling stations to the candidates who will contest the elections,” he explained.

The SEC drew the Court’s attention to the Government’s delay in issuing the final notification on the wards delimitation and the notification of reserved wards. As a result of the delay, the Court’s earlier order on conducting the polls could not be implemented. Former Mayor P R Ramesh had filed a contempt petition challenging the delay in the Palike elections.

The SEC submitted that the delay in announcing the elections was neither intentional nor deliberate. But it required a minimum period of eight weeks for the polls as the wards were demarcated and fixed as late as July 15, 2009. The Commission told the Court that it wrote several times to the State Government to issue the final notification, but not much progress.

Electoral rolls had to be drawn up afresh considering the delimitation of 198 wards. “Nearly 8000 booths have to be set up. The SEC has to identify them and prepare the electoral rolls accordingly. This is time consuming, since it requires spot inspections, verifications and counter-verifications,” the SEC said in its application. 

Following the State Government ordinance of May 28, 2009, the use of electronic voting machines was mandatory. The SEC informed the Court that it had taken up the issue with Bharath Electricals Limited, which has promised delivery of over 9000 EVMs by August 17. The Commission reiterated it was not in a position to conduct elections before July 31.

Meanwhile, the State’s plea to adjourn the hearing of the matter related to the BBMP elections was turned down by the High Court. The plea, moved by Advocate General Ashok Harnahalli was rejected by a division bench comprising of Chief Justice P D Dinakaran and Justice A S Bopanna.

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