Postponement of elections to municipalities and municipal corporations is unconstitutional and unwarranted, the Lok Satta Party told the State Government today and demanded that it arrange elections before September- end when they are due.
In a letter to Chief Minister K. Rosaiah, Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma said postponement of elections on the pretext of undertaking BC’s enumeration for reservation purposes would not wash. Governments in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, and West Bengal had entrusted the Election Commission with the responsibility of finalizing reservations and delimitation of wards. In contrast, the Andhra Pradesh Government retained those powers to defer elections for short-term political gain whenever the need arises. “Deferring elections and foisting official rule runs counter to democracy, and the Constitution.”
Mr. Varma revealed that the Government had deliberately refrained from spending Rs.4000 crore on works in municipalities with an eye on spending it on the eve of elections to reap political mileage for the ruling party.
Mr. Varma also demanded that the Government restore the ideal, demoractic practice of direct election of municipal chairpersons and mayors prevalent prior to 2005. Indirect elections result in horse-trading, defections, and unlimited corruption later on. He suggested that the State Government take the initiative to reserve 50 percent of the seats in civic bodies to women, as contemplated by the Union Government.
Mr. Varma said that the State Government was lax in transferring powers, resources, and personnel to civic bodies, and in formation of ward committees as per the law enacted two years ago. He wanted the Government to decentralize administration by forming ward committees and empowering them.
Mr. Varma told the Chief Minister that the Lok Satta proposals are in accordance with the proposed amendments to the Constitution and the recommendations of the second Administrative Reforms Commission.
Mr. Varma disclosed that the response to the Lok Satta call for people’s sit-in at municipal offices seeking elections on time evoked response beyond the party’s expectations. According to information received until 4-00 p.m., the dharna took place at 62 municipal offices, including corporations.
Lok Satta President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan took part in the dharna at Ongole. Zonal in-charge leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao took part in the dharna at Ongole, G. Raja Reddy at Nizamabad, P. Ravi Maruth at Khammam, Bandaru Ramamohana Rao at Zaheerabad and Y. D. Rama Rao at Kakinada. State leaders V. Laxman Balaji, V. Vijeynder Reddy, and Mahila Satta and Yuva Statta leaders took part in the dharnas at different places.