BBMP polls: SEC files application before Supreme Court
The State Election Commission has filed an application before the Supreme Court of India seeking that the stay on the implementation of the order of High Court of Karnataka be vacated so that polls to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) could be conducted. This is in the light of the Supreme Court, on Tuesday, directing the State Election Commissions across the country to conduct polls to the local bodies every five years. The term of the last BBMP Council came to an end on September 10, 2020.
Earlier, with the delay in conducting polls, two former councillors Abdul Wajid and M. Shivaraju filed a petition before the High Court of Karnataka seeking early polls to the BBMP. The SEC had also gone to court citing incapability to hold polls due to delay in completing the delimitation and fixing reservation.
Meanwhile, the State Government brought in the BBMP Act, 2020, and increased the number of wards from 198 to 243. The High Court, however, ruled that the polls should be held for 198 wards. The Government then appealed against the High Court order in the Supreme Court, which then stayed the matter.
Highly placed sources in the SEC here said that the commission had also written to the State Government to allow conduct of polls immediately.
Sources said that due to technical reasons, the Supreme Court’s order would not be applicable to the BBMP, since the stay in the matter of polls to the civic body was issued by the apex body itself. “If the stay had been issued by the High Court or any other lower court, it would have become null and void in light of the apex court’s order in the matter of polls to 321 Urban Local Bodies in Madhya Pradesh. However, the stay for BBMP polls has been issued by the Supreme Court itself,” the source pointed out.
Meanwhile, the BBMP is still to finalise the delimitation of 243 wards. The Government has dropped the proposal to include 1-km area outside into the BBMP limits. Within the existing limits, the boundaries for the 243 wards have been drawn up. BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Welfare) Sharath said that the draft would soon be published seeking objections, if any, from the public.
Sources said that cutting across party lines, none of the MLAs was in favour of polls being held anytime soon. They all favoured polls being held after the Assembly elections that are due in 2023. “Each ward has at least 4-5 ticket aspirants for the BBMP elections. If the BBMP elections are held, at least three aspirants are likely to rebel against their respective political party. This will have serious ramifications for all parties,” sources said.
Sources added that a final decision on the BBMP elections would be decided by the State Government after Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai returns to the city from New Delhi.