BBMP polling on March 28

Govt to withdraw petition from SC

BBMP polling on March 28

The SEC announcement by and large complies with the Karnataka High Court order to hold elections by March 30.

However, the fear of the polls getting further delayed continues to linger with two special leave petitions (SLPs)—one by the State government and another by a section of parents— filed before the Supreme Court seeking extension of time till April 18. Both have cited the scheduled SSLC examinations as a reason for poll postponement.

However, soon after the announcement of election schedules, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa announced that he would direct the advocate general to withdraw the SLP. “We are committed to holding the polls. Yes, it is difficult to hold polls during the examinations. But as the SEC has already announced the schedules, the government will not come in the way,” he told reporters.

Sources said the chief minister wants to reap the benefit of a feel-good factor generated after announcing infrastructure projects worth Rs 5,000 crore for Bangalore in his budget 2010-11. However, the SLP by the parents will take its own course as it is likely to be taken up for hearing on Monday, one of the ministers from Bangalore, who refused to be quoted, said.

As per the calendar of events, the election process will begin on March 8 and end  on April 6. The BBMP commissioner will issue the election notification on March 8. The model code of conduct will come into effect from March 7. The high court had, however, directed the SEC to complete the process by March 30.

“We have tried our best to comply with the court order. The election process has been extended till April 6 as SSLC examinations are scheduled to be held in between. Hence, we have already made a submission before the court in this regard,” State Election Commissioner C R Chikkamath told reporters.

Second announcement
This is the second poll announcement by the SEC for the BBMP elections. On December 7, 2009, it first announced the schedules. The elections were to be held on February 21, 2010. But the SEC cancelled the process on January 29, 2010, as the High Court directed the government to redo the ward reservation list.  Since then, the government has been trying to postpone the poll.

The High Court finally directed the government and the SEC to complete the poll process by March 30.

Chikkamath said the SEC has decided to draw personnel from various government departments along with the teachers to ensure that the poll process does not affect school examinations. Besides, polling stations will be set up in college buildings and State government offices as much as possible, the commissioner said.

He, however, did not disclose how many government teachers will be drafted for the election duty. The SEC requires 21,773 polling officers and 7,260 presiding officers to conduct the elections. “We have drawn out the process in such a way that the elections will be held smoothly and in a free and fair manner. It will not hamper the examinations in any way,” he added.

The commissioner said the calendar of events has been announced after getting government consent.

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