Direct mayoral poll in jeopardy in Madhya Pradesh

Congress leader Jaivardhan Singh (PTI Photo)

Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon’s refusal to give assent to an ordinance  seeking indirect election to the post of mayor in 17 municipal corporations has jeopardised the civic body elections which are due in December this year.

In Mayoral elections in Madhya Pradesh, voters directly elect head of civic corporation.  

The state government has amended the Madhya Pradesh municipal corporation act, reverting to the 20-years-old practice of indirect election.

Under the amendment, elected corporators, and not voters, will elect the mayor.

The Kamal Nath government had last week sent the ordinance to the governor seeking his sanction. But the BJP urged the governor not to clear the amendment. 

State’s Urban Development Minister Jaivardhan Singh and his department’s principal secretary Sanjay Dubey called on the governor on Saturday and tried to persuade him to give consent to the amendment.

However, the governor was not convinced.

All India Mayors Council has strongly opposed the ordinance. Council’s organisation secretary and former Bhopal mayor Umashankar Gupta met the governor and argued in favour of continuing the rule of direct mayoral election.

The decision to oppose the amendment was taken at the BJP top level.

Party's working president J P Nadda summoned state leaders to discuss its pros and cons. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also met Umashankar Gupta to appraise himself about the amendment.

The party high command is reportedly to have asked state leadership to move the high court against the amendment, if such a situation arises.

The governor’s refusal has caused worries in the state government about prospects of holding civic body elections in time.

Tenures of most of the municipal corporations and councils are ending in December.

Owing to procedural hassles in delimitation of wards in civic bodies, the state government’s election preparation had already suffered considerably and now the election itself appears to be in doldrums.

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