Poll fest in State till early 2010

Elections to more than 5,600 GPs and 25 Legislative Council seats in next 7 months


There will be no relief from elections till early 2010, it appears.

Even before the heat and dust of Parliamentary polls settles down, elections to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and bypolls to five Assembly seats are fast approaching, though the dates are yet to be finalised.

Within the next six to seven months, more than 5,600 gram panchayats and 25 Legislative Council seats from the local authorities constituency will go to the polls. That’s not all. Elections to co-operative institutions ranging from primary co-operative societies to apex bodies like the Karnataka Milk Federation, are also on the cards.

Elections to the BBMP is likely to be held first as the Government is legally bound to complete the long overdue process by July 31 under the direction of the High Court. The Government has decided to increase the number of BBMP wards to 198. The KMC Act allows formation of a maximum of 150 wards. Hence, the Government has sought the consent of the governor to amend the KMC Act to increase the number of wards.

The tenure of the 5,628 gram panchayats end in February 2010 and elections to constitute the new bodies has to be held early next year. The BBMP and panchayat elections would be conducted by the State Election Commission. Though the gram panchayat elections are fought on a non-party basis without party symbols, political parties do sponsor candidates.

It is also time for by-polls to the five Assembly seats vacated by MLAs to contest the Lok Sabha polls, barring V Somanna from Govindarajnagar who resigned to join the BJP. The vacant seats are Chittapur, Kollegal, Ramanagara, Govindarajnagar and Channapatna.

The vacancies need to be filled within six months from April.

The Council polls come under the jurisdiction of Central Election Commission. The tenure of 25 MLCs elected from the local authorities constituency expire on January 5, 2010.

Members of all local bodies, MLCs, MLAs and MPs form the electoral college for this indirect election.

In short, the State would have witnessed the full cycle of three-tier electoral system to the Lok Sabha, Legislative Assembly and local bodies within a span of two years.

With the polls will come a slew of populist programmes and the model code of conduct.

The Government has already begun announcing sops for the urban electorate ahead of the BBMP polls. It is only a question of time before the Government shifts its focus on the rural voter as the gram panchayat elections draw closer.

EVMs to enter BBMP polls

The State government on Wednesday promulgated an ordinance enabling the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the BBMP polls.

The Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act permits only the use of ballot paper in elections to urban local bodies. The Governor on Wednesday consented to the ordinance which amends various sections of the KMC Act, enabling the use of EVMs in addition to ballot paper.

TENTATIVE

* BBMP election: To be completed by July 31

* Co-operative polls: Before July 22

* By-polls to five Assembly seats: Before Nov 2009

* Elections to 25 MLC seats: By Dec 2009

* Elections to 5,628 gram panchayats: By Feb 2010

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