Decks cleared for Madhya Pradesh civic polls

Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon (DH File Photo)

Decks were cleared on Tuesday for indirect election of mayors and municipality chairmen in Madhya Pradesh with Governor Lalji Tandon finally giving assent to the ordinance to this effect. Civic body elections in the state are due in December this year.

Earlier, the governor dilly-dallied on clearing the Municipal corporation/council (amendment) ordinance, 2019 which was sent to him last week amid strong protest from the BJP. However, he changed his mind after Chief Minister Kamal Nath met him on Monday and removed misgivings about the amendment seeking transition from direct to indirect election of the civic body heads.

Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had also called on the governor on Monday to lodge the BJP’s objections to the ordinance.

According to Raj Bhawan sources, the governor had open mind on the ordinance from the very beginning but a tweet from senior Congress leader Vivek Tankha annoyed him. Tankha, who is eminent Supreme Court lawyer, had “advised’ the governor to abide by “Raj Dharm” and follow the state government’s recommendation on the ordinance.

The chief minister quickly distanced himself with Tankha’s tweet, saying it was his personal opinion.

“Those who attempted to lower the dignity of the Raj Bhawan by exerting pressure on the governor had expressed their personal opinion and the government has nothing to do with them”, the chief minister clarified. 

Governor Lalji Tandon also said that any public comment on discretion of the people holding constitutional posts is violation of the constitutional limits.

In a statement released from the Raj Bhawan it was stated that the dignity of the governor’s post is inviolable and undisputed. “Any attempt to exert pressure on the governor is detrimental to democratic traditions”.

Following the governor’s green signal to the ordinance, the BJP has also softened its stand.

Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava said the governor’s decision is acceptable to all.

He, however, urged the state government to bring in another ordinance to prevent defection of corporators in civic bodies. 

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